While Michael McGough is correct (Guardian, February 27) that the European Investment Bank (EIB) provided a loan to Ford’s operation in Turkey, it’s important to remember that since 2005 Ford UK has received over £1bn in loans from the same European source.
This includes a £450m loan in 2010 – more than five times the amount Ford’s Turkey operation received – which is supporting research and development and the upgrading of manufacturing operations at Ford’s UK factories including in Dagenham. This European support will help produce a new generation of low-emission engines and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and develop new skills and innovation across the UK.
And it’s not just Ford that is warning against pulling Britain out of Europe. Eight out of 10 British firms have said the UK must stay in the EU. It’s no wonder, since our EU membership gives access not only to the European Single Market, but also to 31 countries around the globe due to market-opening deals negotiated by the EU.
Indeed, drinks company Diageo (whose brands include Johnny Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness) employs 1,000 people in London and has credited EU trade deals for the company’s whisky export success outside as well as inside Europe.
Pulling out of the EU, as UKIP is calling for, would make the UK a much less attractive place for companies to invest, put hundreds of thousands of jobs in London at risk and discourage the creation of further employment in the capital. Liberal Democrats want Britain to remain ‘in Europe, in work’, and will be campaigning hard for the UK to stay in the EU to support local jobs and businesses.
Sarah Ludford, Liberal Democrat MEP for London