‘Bureaucratic nightmare’ of EU criticised by British bosses

Business leaders have thrown their weight behind the argument that being a member of the European Union makes little difference to Britain, reports The Telegraph.

Recruitment company founder Robert Walters said exports are unlikely to be affected if Britain were to pull the plug on EU membership following the referendum due in 2017.

Meanwhile, the senior vice-president of Tate & Lyle Sugars has criticised Europe’s heavy-handed approach to regulation.

In letter published in The Telegraph today, Gerald Mason said it is time “Europe let Britain be itself”.

The views echo those of General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt, who told The Sunday Telegraph earlier this week that Britain’s place in the EU makes little difference to global investors.

Mr Immelt explained that Europe would never be a “perfectly homogeneous common market” in his lifetime due to the differences between the member countries.

“It’s important the UK has good relationships around the world, but I don’t really think that its place in the European Union makes that much difference,” he said.

Mr Walters said there are some benefits to being a member, but that the level of bureaucracy is a heavy burden on the state.

“If we get ourselves out of the bureaucratic nightmare Europe creates, that would be beneficial. And the amount of money spent propping up that bureaucracy. There would be no worries about an exit.”

He made the comments as his London-based firm, Robert Walters, posted its seventh successive quarter of double-digit growth in the three months to end of September.

Business chiefs also attacked Home Secretary Theresa May’s “anti-immigration rhetoric” at the Conservative Party conference.

Simon Walker, director general of lobby group the Institute of Directors, said Ms May’s proposals to launch a new crackdown on migrants and asylum seekers would “turn away the world’s best and brightest”.

“The myth of the job-stealing immigrant is nonsense. Immigrants do not steal jobs, they help fill vital skill shortages and, in doing so, create demand and more jobs. If they did steal jobs, we wouldn’t have the record levels of employment we currently do,” he said.

Mr Walters added the UK is suffering from a shortage of skilled workers in professions such as accountancy, law and IT. He said the economy would benefit from people coming to the country with the right skills.