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London tech firms voice EU exit concerns

A growing number of voices in the IT community are warning against Britain leaving the EU

We know that some of the leaders of the largest vendors want the UK to stay in Europe and feel that Brexit would cause all sorts of problems for investment plans and jobs but there are also indications that at the other end of the scale in the start-up world there are also major concerns.

The debate about what might happen if the UK exits the EU will run right up to the referendum in late June but many organisations and businesses are planting their flag now to make it clear which side of the argument they are backing.

The latest indication that many in the IT world are leaning towards Europe comes from Tech London Advocates, which represents many of the firms that are synonomous with the Silicon Roundabout in the Capital.

The survey by the organisation of London-based tech professionals found that the overwhelming majority (88%) believed that being part of the EU made the city a more attractive location for international businesses to base their operations.

The other benefits for start-ups was the access via EU membership to more international growth, customer acquisition and talented staff.

When it came to asking tech entrepreneurs what would happen if the UK left the EU there was not a great deal of clarity about exactly what the consequences would be for tech businesses.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said that London had already established a reputation for being one of the digital powerhouses in Europe.

“There is significant concern within the digital community that Brexit would undermine this position and threaten relationships with the European market," he said.   “Attracting international companies to the capital has been one of the great success stories of London’s digital economy. Brexit could see global businesses locating in emerging digital hubs in Berlin, Paris and Stockholm rather than London," he added.

Tech London Advocates has set up a working group to continue to voice the concerns of the technology sector in the refrendum debate.

Last month, almost 200 business leaders supported a letter calling for continued membership of the EU with SCC founder Sir Peter Rigby a prominent channel name on that list.

Alongside Rigby there was also support for staying in Europe from a host of senior executives, including: Phil Smith, chief executive UK&I, Cisco, David Stokes, CEO of IBM, Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone, Michael Keegan, executive director EMEIA Fujitsu, Seb James, chief executive Dixons Carphone, Dido Harding, chief executive TalkTalk and Gavin Patterson, chief executive BT Group.

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