An extra 40,000 jobs could be created in the North East if the UK remains in the European Union, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Ahead of Thursday’s EU referendum, the UK-wide organisation, which represents the interests of business and industry, has taken figures released by HM Treasury to estimate the impact of even greater integration with Europe’s single market.
The CBI estimates that there is the potential to create 41,590 future jobs in the region if the UK opts to remain part of the EU, with as many as 100,000 jobs in the North East directly linked to exports to the single market.
It argues that 41,460 manufacturing jobs are dependent upon exports to the EU, representing 67% of all jobs in the sector, and estimates a further 5,640 jobs could be created if ties to the continent with deepened.
Furthermore, it claims that 12,370 jobs in wholesale and retail trade are strengthened thanks to trade with Europe, and that 5,690 jobs could be created in the North East’s distribution and retail sector as the consequence of an ‘in’ vote on Thursday.
Emphasising the positives of continued EU membership, Sarah Glendinning, CBI North East director, said: “The UK’s membership of the European Union has been of enormous benefit to the North East for over 40 years.
“Some of the key sectors that lie at the heart of communities across the region, from manufacturing to retail, rely on our membership of the Single Market.
“Virtually every economist agrees that leaving the EU would likely cause an economic shock, damaging the North East’s prospects.
“We’d not only put a dent in what we have now, we’d also miss out on thousands of jobs in the near future, as a result of losing access to the Single Market, pulling the rug from under our local economy.
“This is why the majority of businesses want the UK to remain inside the EU, to best drive growth, support and create jobs, and increase prosperity for our region.”
Today’s predictions come as both sides in the closely fought EU referendum debate ramp up campaigning in the final days before Thursday’s vote.
Vote Leave supporters, including Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton, visited Newton Aycliffe manufacturer Ebac on Monday to press the case for a leave vote which they claim would ‘open the door to more investment, more jobs and higher wages for working people’.
Vote Leave’s regional chairman, Andy Saunders added: “When we go to the polling station on Thursday nobody should be in any doubt that this is the most important decision for a generation.
“From the Remain camp we’re being asked to vote for an introspective, defeatist view of Britain – shackled to a failing customs union.
“On the other hand, Vote Leave offers a confident, outward looking nation that trades not just with Europe but the rest of the world too.”