One of Britain’s political heavyweights, former Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Heseltine, entered the EU debate for the first time publicly at a special Business West meeting at Renishaw.
Lord Heseltine, now 83 years old, showed the sort of energy and vision that has kept him at the very pinnacle of politics for over 40 years when he spoke at Renishaw’s Innovation Centre.
Welcoming Lord Heseltine, Renishaw’s director of group sales and marketing, Will Lee, said:
“I think we all know that he has been a very long, committed supporter of British industry and for exports to the health of the British economy.
“This is clearly something very clearly dear to our hearts here at Renishaw where 95% of our sales are overseas.
“Twenty one per cent of those exports actually go into the rest of Europe .We have strong competition there so maintaining sufficient access to that market is very important to us so we maintain our world leading position.”
He said that it was vital that Renishaw were able to complement their UK workforce with access to talent from Europe.
Lord Heseltine, who has played a special role in establishing Business West and supporting local Chambers of Commerce, said: “I remember sovereignty and being alone”.
“To me the big issue is: Where do you see Britain in the world?
“We have established for ourselves a quite extraordinary position of influence and respect. So should we leave Europe? I don’t know of any friend overseas who thinks it’s in our interests to leave Europe.
“Why is it they want us to stay? Well, a major reason they want us to stay is because we are their best friend. The momentum of advice flowing internationally is based on a respect for what this country is capable of achieving.
“I don’t really understand how anybody can believe that with a home market of £500 million people on our doorstep we can leave without it having a massive economic downturn.
“There have been many forecasts but all of them indicate anxiety, deterioration, lower living standards, higher taxes, higher inflation.”