London’s technology community is overwhelmingly in favour of staying in the European Union, according to research published today by a powerful technology lobbying group that includes people from Google and Facebook.
The Conservative party pledged to hold an EU referendum by the end of 2017 when it was elected into power, which could result in the UK exiting the EU. It now looks like it will be held in June 2016.
But 87% of Tech London Advocates, a group of 2,000 individuals championing the capital’s tech sector, warn that an EU exit would have a negative impact on London’s digital businesses.
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: “We asked members of London’s digital community whether they felt ‘Brexit’ would accelerate or damage growth in the capital. The overwhelming response has given us a clear mandate to call for a Yes response on behalf of tech professionals in the digital capital of Europe.
“Every challenge the capital faces in its efforts to remain a centre for digital excellence will be exacerbated by withdrawal from the European Union. The decision threatens to undermine our access to talent and removes us from some of the most important regulatory decisions of our generation around privacy, trade agreements and competition. Worst of all, it would send a desultory message to the global digital community — Britain is no longer open for business.”
The results have been released today to coincide with the launch of TLA EU-Yes, a working group within Tech London Advocates (TLA) that will aim to amplify the voice of the technology sector within the EU debate and raise awareness around the potential risks of Brexit for digital businesses.
TLA EU-Yes has identified five key areas in which the future growth of London’s technology sector would be damaged were Britain to leave the EU. They include:
- Access to talent
- Influence in regulatory decisions
- Access to trade agreements
- Ability to attract global HQs to the UK
- Collaboration with other European digital hubs
Ghislaine Boddington, founder of body>data>space, added: “The TLA EU-Yes working group will mobilise London’s digital community to raise awareness about the impact of Brexit on our fastest growing sector. Without clarifying the benefits of the EU on our digital community, we risk sleepwalking into a disaster for the future growth of our industry, as we will loose imperative collaborations, knowledge transfers and marketplace exchanges.”
Among the Tech London Advocates Group are Google’s Puneet Ahira, who is a moonshot evangelist for the company’s Google X division, and Facebook’s Tom Case, who works in executive recruitment. Venture capitalist and Tech City UK chair Eileen Burbidge is also a member. A full list of advocates can be found here.
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