THE BLOG

When Business Speaks, Britain Should Take Notice

23/04/2013 14:59 BST | Updated 22/06/2013 10:12 BST

The debate on Britain's relationship with the European Union has grown stale.

In vs Out, phile vs phobe - there are plenty of characters on both sides to keep the media interested; but to the rest of us it's the same old names, the same old faces, the same old debate.

Yesterday a new set of voices entered the fray - those of Britain's business community. Too often left unheard, the launch of Business for Britain has, for the first time, given Britain's wealth and job creators the opportunity to express their own feelings about the way the EU impacts upon their businesses.

Anyone who watched the BBC Daily Politics at noon yesterday will have seen what I mean. Alan Halsall, the Chairman of Britain's last remaining pram makers, 135 year-old Yorkshire company Silver Cross - was in a two-way debate with PR smoothie Roland Rudd, Chairman of Business for New Europe.

As Roland waxed about trade deals and EU processes, Alan was left to articulate what it was like for small business owners to get their materials imported and their goods exported, and the onerous and obstructive EU regulation that hinders them in these endeavours.

Honest, real and frustrated - Alan was the voice of big and small businesses up and down this country. He represents, not just the 500+ business people who signed in support of Business for Britain on Monday, but many thousands of entrepreneurs and industry figures who have to deal with this absurd situation on a daily basis.

This is why commentators such as Allister Heath, Editor of financial newspaper CityAM, responded to our unveiling yesterday by writing:

"The launch of Business for Britain is a historic moment in the decades-long struggle between those who believe the UK's future to be global, and thus that our political ties with Europe should be loosened, perhaps drastically so; and those who believe ever-closer European political unification - for there is no such thing as the status quo when it comes to the EU - to be the only way forward."

When business succeeds, everyone in the country feels the benefit: more jobs, more trade and a more buoyant and prosperous economy. Yesterday over 500 business leaders said that they wanted a better deal from the EU. There are many thousands more who agree.

They should be listened to.