Dozens of leading business and industry figures including Terra Firma vice chair Justin King have signed a joint letter calling for a People’s Vote on Brexit, part of a campaign by a new group. Business for a People’s Vote.
The letter, signed by more than 70 business figures, warns that the proposals being discussed by the Government and the European Commission are not as good as the current deal Britain has inside the European Union.
Signees said that uncertainty over the past two years had already led to a slump in investment, making Britain poorer.
The group said the manufacturing PMI had fallen to its lowest level since July 2016, with low business optimism related to Brexit uncertainty.
The letter states: "The business community was promised that, if the country voted to leave, there would continue to be frictionless trade with the EU and the certainty about future relations that we need to invest for the long term.
"Despite the Prime Minister's best efforts, the proposals being discussed by the Government and the European Commission fall far short of this, and they are not nearly as good as the current deal we have inside the EU. The uncertainty over the past two years has already led to a slump in investment, which will make our country poorer.
"We are now facing either a blindfold or a destructive hard Brexit. Both these options will further depress investment. They will be bad for business and bad for working people. Given that neither was on the ballot in 2016, we believe the ultimate choice should be handed back to the public with a People’s Vote."
Among others signing the letter in a personal capacity were former Marks & Spencer chair Lord Myners and the founder of LastMinute.com, Martha Lane-Fox.
Signee Rosa's Flowers owner Rosa Ashby said florist shops were closing because fewer Dutch suppliers were visiting the UK.
Meanwhile, Dutch grower Henk Raaijmakers, who is also vice president of the European Nurserystock Association, said British customers waited only three to four days for plants to arrive but said he feared Brexit would mean longer waits and price hikes because of increased paperwork, import fees and a longer list of phytosanitary obligations. The exchange rate of the British pound would mean products would cost up to 50% more, he added.