Goldman Sachs, the behemoth of American investment banking, has reportedly donated a six figure sum to the pro-EU campaign, in order to secure Britain’s membership within the European Union.
The bank is being purported to be supporting ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’, which is a cross-party group leading the fight to keep Britain in the EU. Though the bank is not currently confirming any donation, Sky News is reporting that they donated the ‘substantial six-figure sum’. The bank, though being a major global presence, only employs around 6,000 people in the UK.
Arron Banks, who has previously donated to UKIP and founded leave.eu, has criticised Goldman Sachs for its involvement, tweeting,
No surprise to those of us who have said all along EU referendum will be a campaign of British people against the establishment of international bankers, multinational corporate tax dodgers and out-of-touch politicians.
David Cameron, who gave a talk today at the Economic Forum in Davos, has said that Britain needs to listen to the wishes of businesses.
The date of the referendum is not yet certain, and will rely on the success or failure of Britain’s re-nogotiation of its EU memberhsip, the result of which is due next month. Despite this, the referendum will take place before the end of 2017.
The chief executive of BP, one of the largest energy companies in the world, has also waded in the debate, saying that investment in the UK Energy sector would suffer, should the UK withdraw from the EU. He added that many of the restrictions and regulations would apply, but the UK would lose its place on the world stage.
He joins many major company directors and bosses who see Britain’s place in the EU as an advantage to British business.
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has said,
The EU is the UK’s biggest trading partner. Its combined market dwarfs the US and China. For that reason alone, the UK must stay in to help rebuild the EU. Obviously Europe has had difficulties, but so has America and most other countries in the world.
Number 10 has changed tack on its position regarding business leaders speaking out on the EU discussion. Just last year, there were reports that David Cameron wanted business leaders to stay out of the debate, but it now seems he is far more receptive to hearing from bosses and Chief Execs.
Speculation about when the EU referendum will be held is ongoing. Philip Hammond, who is the Foreign Secretary, has said that the referendum will only be held once the renegotiation has been decided. He spoke in Edinburgh on Wednesday, and said,
If we get a deal, a June vote would be a possibility in terms of the timescales of the Referendum Act but that will only be decided once we’ve got a deal.
Other senior government figures have suggested the referendum could be held in Autumn. The latest possible date for the vote would be September 2017. Interestingly, the turnout could be detrimentally affected if it is held during the winter.
A country can leave the EU two years after notifying the European Council that it has intentions to leave, but there would still need to be complex and lengthy negotiations, which would delineate the EU’s future relationship with Britain.