Unilever & Rolls Royce bosses warn of Brexit blowback

Bosses at two of Britain’s leading companies have entered the increasingly testy fray of the EU referendum battle with engineering group Rolls Royce and consumer goods giant Unilever each writing to their employees to warn of the potential consequences of voting for Brexit.

As part of wave of ever more shrill warnings about the potential pitfalls of such a move Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East warned that he would be forced to place investment decisions on hold in the aftermath of such a move and would hand an advantage to its American competitors.

East said: “It's all about uncertainty and our position in Europe. We have a very interconnected operation around Europe... We're making investment decisions all the time about where to place various parts of our operation... and uncertainty created by Brexit puts a lot of those decisions on hold, and that pause is something that our US competitors don't have to cope with.”

These sentiments were echoed by a Unilever spokesman who warned, vaguely, that ‘… the way we run the company may be fundamentally different if the decision were taken to leave the EU.”

Both firms couch such ill portents with an admission that they cannot foresee what the consequences would be of an exit but the mere fact of the uncertainty would be sufficient for them to pause for thought.

To add to the Leave camps problems the CBI has also weighed in on the side of remain, arguing that withdrawal would leave Britain’s businesses ‘out in the cold’ but the organisation was swiftly denounced by Leave supporters as ‘the voice of Brussels’.

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