34 tech leaders sign open letter warning of risks of leaving open market of 500 million people
Over 30 leaders at UK tech companies including BT and Virgin Media, as well as subsidiaries of US giants including IBM, HPE and Microsoft, have urged UK citizens to vote to remain in the European Union.
The letter was signed by 34 tech leaders and published first in The Times. It urges people to vote to stay in the EU, citing huge risks if the nation leaves.
“The UK’s tech sector is a global success. It is growing faster than the rest of the UK economy and creating new businesses and jobs across the country. EU membership has underpinned that success. A vote to leave would undermine it,” they said.
Notable signatories of the letter include:
Michel van der Bel, UK CEO, Microsoft
Victor Chavez, CEO, Thales UK
Julian David, CEO, techUK
Andy Isherwood, MD UK and Ireland, HPE
Michael Keegan, SVP, head of EMEA product business and chairman UK & Ireland, Fujitsu
Tom Mockridge, CEO, Virgin Media
Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT
Cormac Watters, MD UK, SAP
David Stokes, CEO, IBM UK
The letter goes on to explain more about why the signatories feel a remain vote is in the best interests of the country.
"Tech companies are not starry eyed about the EU, but repeated surveys of startups, SMEs, investors and corporates make it clear that the overwhelming majority would vote to stay," said the letter.
“[We] believe staying in the EU is the best choice for the UK economy. According to techUK members, most of which are small businesses, being part of the EU makes it easier for them to trade and do business across Europe.
"It makes the UK more attractive to international investment and makes Britain more globally competitive.
"A decision to exit the EU would leave tech firms and their customers facing significant and prolonged uncertainty, and leave the UK side-lined on key decisions that will shape a digital market of 500 million consumers."
The firms are just the latest in a long line of organisations to urge a remain vote in the referendum. Past surveys have found that being in the EU is seen as a major asset for tech-oriented firms.
Despite this Google data has shown more people searching for 'leave the EU' than 'remain in the EU.