SMMT votes overwhelmingly for European membership

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The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned that the UK must remain in Europe. It said, access to the single market was fundamental to UK vehicle manufacturing, supporting sales and ensuring supply chain growth.

The SMMT has published a report produced by KPMG called The UK Automotive Industry and the EU, which examines the relationship between the UK and the European Union. Among its conclusions are: • EU bargaining power in trade negotiations is critical to improving access to international growth markets. • In shaping regulations and standards, the UK needs a powerful voice at European level discussions to ensure the specific needs of the UK industry are met, safeguarding competitiveness and supporting its diverse nature. • EU funding has boosted R&D and innovation at businesses and universities in the UK. • Free movement of labour enables UK manufacturers and suppliers to blend domestic and international talent. • Reform is still needed to remove burdensome EU regulations and reduce complexities which can undermine international competitiveness. "The position of the UK automotive industry is clear – being part of a strong Europe is critical for future success," said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. To supplement the report, a survey of SMMT members – covering companies of all sizes in the industry including supply chain, aftermarket, manufacturing and distribution – showed that 92% of automotive companies believe that staying in the EU would be best for their business. More than 70% of respondents believe that withdrawal from Europe would negatively impact their business in the medium-to-long-term. Hawes added: "This report, and our member survey, shows that Britain's EU membership is fundamental to investment, growth and jobs in automotive companies of all sizes. The recent success of the UK automotive sector is due to its global competitiveness; competitiveness that is enhanced by a supportive business environment at home and access to the huge single market."