Four reasons to stay in the EU: Greencore boss

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Four factors explain why the food and drink industry would be much better off if the UK voted to retain EU membership rather than opting to leave, Greencore ceo Patrick Coveney told the Food Manufacture Group’s Business Leaders Forum in London.

A vote to resign UK membership in a referendum – which could be held as early as this summer – would frustrate access to food raw materials, undermine the availability of labour from EU countries and weaken sterling, which in turn would prompt capital flows out of the UK, forcing the Bank of England to raise interest rates, said Coveney in this exclusive video interview.

Scottish independence referendum

The Greencore boss’s final reason to retain EU membership was that a vote to quit would spark a new Scottish independence referendum, which this time the nationalists would undoubtedly win.

“The vast majority of business leaders believe that their companies are better served by being in the EU,”​ said Coveney.

No speaker at the forum spoke in favour of quitting the EU.

In contrast, former environment secretary Owen Paterson told the Oxford Farming Conference earlier this month that quitting the EU would offer the food and farming industry a launch pad for growth​.

Coveney’s comments were made before Prime Minister David Cameron urged business leaders to make their views on EU membership  known.

‘Get out there and support those things’

Should we stay or go?

“The vast majority of business leaders believe that their companies are better served by being in the EU.”​ 

  • Patrick Coveney, Greencore

“Even though the question isn’t settled,”​ Cameron told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “I think that if business backs my reforms – if you want to see the competitive Europe; if you want to see the flexible Europe; if you want to see a Europe where you can be in the eurozone and win or out of the eurozone and win – I would argue: get out there and support those things.​”

Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Liz Truss admitted recently to having no Plan B, in the event of an EU Refendum vote in favour of quitting the union. But does Greencore have a Plan B? Find out next week in our continuing coverage of the forum in news, video interviews and analysis on FoodManufacture.co.uk and in the February edition of Food Manufacture​ magazine.

The annual Business Leaders Forum was held at the office of host sponsor law firm DWF in central London on Wednesday January 20. The other event sponsors were ALcontrol and insurance firm RSA.

For more information about the event, contact Mike Stones at Michael.stones@wrbm.com​.

  • This video was produced by Laurence Gibbons.

Why leaving the EU ‘would damage the UK food industry’

  1. Threaten access to food raw materials
  2. Threaten the availability of labour from EU countries
  3. Weaken sterling, forcing the Bank of England to raise interest rates
  4. Create internal tensions, leading to a Scottish independence referendum, which the nationalists would win

Source: Greencore ceo Patrick Coveney

Related topics: Policy

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