Turning the focus to Europe
Anton Colella says ICAS will contribute wholeheartedly to the debate on the UK's relationship with Europe in the run-up to the 2017 referendum.
With the General Election now over, the big issue for business is UK's relationship with Europe.
Prime Minister David Cameron has embarked on a round of engagements to secure agreement with European leaders on a renegotiated settlement for the UK within the EU, ahead of a referendum in 2017.
ICAS and our membership are already deeply involved in that debate. That is set to continue in the run-up to the in-out poll in two years' time.
We have just published an excellent report Britain and the EU, which explores the relationship between the UK and Brussels in key areas including trade, law, regulation, taxation and London's position as a global financial centre.
Accompanying this work was a survey that suggested that 82% of our members are in favour of staying within the EU. Of those who took part, 20% supported further integration, 31% backed a renegotiated relationship, and 32% preferred no change in the current arrangements. The study also found that 11% of respondents wanted to leave the EU, with 6% undecided.
Series of questions
What our survey and research sought to do was to inform the debate. It was a valuable contribution and the report ended with a series of questions - on the potential impact to investment and the prospect of any potential exodus of multinationals in the event of a 'Brexit'.
There are many arguments on both sides from those for and against the UK's membership of the EU but it is the cold hard facts which should be uppermost in this debate.
This is as much an economic union as a political one. The economic arguments on either side must be compelling. We all know how perilous uncertainty can be, particularly for the money markets. Just look at the nervousness in the City last month as it became clear a referendum was on the cards.
Staying in the UK will maintain the essential trade links so vital to the UK. Should the UK exit the EU, then those vital economic ties must somehow be maintained if the British economy is to thrive and London is to remain as capital of the global markets.
ICAS will engage wholeheartedly in this debate in the run-up to the vote, in the interests of our members and the public.
For the immediate future our focus is on Europe.