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UK's aerospace, defence and security trade body sees positives in staying in Europe

11 June 2015

The UK's powerful aerospace, defence and security firms had entered into the EU referendum debate, saying only 2 per cent of members of the ADS Group [formerly Aerospace Defence Security] trade body wanted the UK to leave Europe.

A survey of the lobby group's 900-plus members, ranging from blue-chip global giants to small and medium-sized suppliers, showed 73 per cent thought the EU was positive for them and 86 per cent wanted to stay in Europe.

It further showed 89 per cent export to Europe even as 59 per cent saw free trade within the EU as a benefit.

According to only 1 per cent of respondents EU had a negative impact on their business.

Around 60 per cent of the companies cited free trade within the EU as delivering core benefits to their business, followed by the simplification of regulations as also overall economic growth.

According to ADS chief executive Paul Everitt this was about the benefits the UK got from being part of Europe.

He added the industries were clear that the UK's continued membership of the EU was good for companies, their employees and the future prosperity of the country.

At the same time ADS members also said they wanted to see change within the EU with more focus on promotion of growth, investment in skills, innovation and competitiveness.

Free trade was seen as the biggest benefit of being part of the EU, according to a poll of the ADS industries, with almost six out of 10 businesses citing it.

Only a third of the ADS members ranging from giants such as BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce to SMEs - said simplification of regulation and tariffs within the bloc were an advantage, while according to a slightly smaller proportion the positive economic impact that being in Europe had on the UK and their company was a factor.

With the UK faced with a skills crisis, another key positive was the being able to easily attracting talent from around Europe to help plug the gaps.

According to the ADS, if the UK were to leave, then it would ''lose its place at the negotiating table''.

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