A recent survey of members of the Tech London Advocates trade group has shown that nearly 90% of those surveyed believe that Britain’s membership in the European Union is an important asset to the UK’s tech firms.
The survey questioned 320 of the organisation’s members, 87% of whom stated that they thought the UK’s EU membership was important for attracting international organisations since it made them more likely to set up their base in the UK when looking to expand into the European marketplace.
Of those surveyed, 71% thought that leaving the EU would undermine longstanding relationships and make it a lot harder for London to attract skilled workers from Europe, as well as make it harder for those skilled workers to actually work in the UK.
Founder of the organisation, Russ Shaw, was not surprised at the figures, commenting that people involved in London’s current tech success were right to be concerned since leaving the EU is very likely to impact on business growth.
He stated: “There is significant concern in the digital community that a Brexit would undermine this position and threaten relationships with the European market…Attracting international companies to the capital has been one of the great success stories of London’s digital economy.”
He added that “A Brexit could see global businesses locating in emerging digital hubs in Berlin, Paris and Stockholm rather than London.”
Nick Thomson, the Chief Revenue Officer at Workshare, a London-based storage and collaboration business, also raised the issue of the UK losing a lot of its power regarding key tech issues, and as well as its leading tech hub status, as a result of Brexit.
He stated: “As a large trading block the EU was able to secure the EU Data Protection regulation against US pressure. The UK may well have to compromise this level of data protection in the negotiation for its new trade concession from the US”.
Many of Thomson’s concerns stem around the result of the above being less data security for all those who are UK based, which would have a negative impact on their ability to share data with the rest of Europe. As the rest of Europe make up the majority of the UK’s main trading partners, this would be a very unwelcome added complication.