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Peter Rolton's EU Comments in E&T Magazine

Peter Rolton is one of a handful of voices in the engineering sector who have had their say on the EU referendum and the arguments for and against membership in the May issue of E&T Magazine.

The article is aimed at sorting out the truth about what EU membership means for the UK’s engineering industry, and what could happen if voters opt for a ‘Brexit’. It focusses on four key points: Access to Markets, EU Standards, Collaborative Research, and Skills and Immigration.

Peter Rolton, arguing that the UK should remain in the EU, stresses that he “cannot see where the UK fits globally as a stand-alone country outside of Europe.” A Brexit would result in the loss of investment from major overseas manufacturers, many of whom choose to have facilities in the UK because of the easy access to the European markets. As such, leaving the EU could result in these businesses pulling out of the UK in favour of other European countries, which will severely weaken the UK’s manufacturing and engineering industries.

Furthermore, a Brexit could lead to a decline in technical standards within the engineering industry, as the UK would no longer have to conform to EU guidelines unless trading with EU countries. This could not only cause a decrease in the high level of service and expertise that the UK is able to offer, but also a decrease in the demand for these skills.

While other contributors to the article also believed that a ‘remain’ vote would be best, not everyone agreed; those in favour of a Brexit pushed the view that the EU would not close its doors to trading with the UK, and James Dyson made the point that EU technical standards do not support new technology.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum on the 23rd June, the engineering industry is sure to face significant implications.