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[英伦广角] 2016-04-02 英国250名商界领袖支持英国脱欧

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In a referendum campaign where people are demanding more information, the opinion of business leaders matters. The owner of Forman’s restaurants and fish business is one of 250 people to sign a letter saying the UK would be better of leaving the EU. This eastern business was set up in 1905, is the oldest producer of smoked salmon in the world. Lance Forman thinks it would survive just fine outside the European Union.

“We have faced an enormous amount of bureaucracy as to all businesses. I’ll give you a perfect example. Last year we had to spend thousands of pounds producing new packaging just so that a package of smoked salmon could have warnings on the back saying ‘contains fish’. I X this complete X.”

Other signatories include the former HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan, the founder of Phones4U John Caudwell and, hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, all signing in a personal capacity. It comes after a third of Forbes’ 100 bosses publically supported “stay in” last month.

Both campaigns are desperate to get business leaders to reflect their arguments. Now some say that the big firms tend towards “in” and smaller firms “out”. But of course just as the general public, businessmen and women are individuals with their own individual point of view.

But do Forman’s customers think the opinion of business leaders’ will make a difference?

“I think it would because I don’t think I understand what rationale for going out. It seems like quite a big move away. So I think more people need to come out.”

“At my age, I’m 73. I’m not sweat by anyone. I just can’t make my own mind. And as a former business person, I can assure you that I want to stay in the EU.”

“It seems to be that so many of the business leaders, they have vested interests, either one way or the other, and that…so then probably I wouldn't listen to a lot of the business leaders, no, I probably wouldn't.”

The letter is already under attack from the “in” campaign. They point out that it doesn’t contain any current Forbes’ 100 bosses, and has only 17 women.

“It’s true that women are under representation in the business sector, but just to have 5% on this list of women including several relatives of one of the signatories, I think shows that the leave campaign is simply not representative compared to our supporters of letter last month. It had around 20% of women signatories.”

In the end though, the votes of company bosses won’t count any more than anyone else’s. June’s referendum is still to difficult to call.

Seph Reed, Sky News.
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