Some of the biggest names from clothing retail, including former Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose and Next boss Lord Wolfson have joined a campaign urging the government to negotiate a new deal with Europe.
Business for Britain – a cross-party group of 500 business leaders – has published an open letter to all politicians to support prime minister David Cameron’s pledge to adjust some of the UK’s agreements with the EU.
The coalition formed in the late 1990s as Business for Sterling, a campaign group to keep the UK out of the Euro.
It has now been relaunched to tackle the broader issue of the UK’s relationship with Europe.
Other members include John Clement from Littlewoods and John Hoerner, former chief executive of Arcadia and The Burton Group, chairman of Debenhams and Harvey Nichols and most recently chief executive of central European clothing at Tesco.
In a promotional video, co-chairman Alan Halsall, who heads up pram company Silver Cross, noted that “many would have you believe that business doesn’t want politicians to try and renegotiate a better deal from Europe”.
The letter explained: “Far from being a threat to our economic interests, a flexible, competitive Europe with more powers devolved from Brussels is essential for growth, jobs and access to markets.”
Its aim was to “urge all political parties to join in committing themselves to a national drive to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the EU”.
It follows warnings from the likes of Deloitte that any tampering with the status quo could create uncertainty and lead to an “investment chill”.