Oxford Brookes hosts EU Referendum business debate

Thursday, 28 April 2016

EU Flag

Last night (Wednesday 27 April) saw a debate on the EU Referendum take place on Oxford Brookes’ Headington Campus with attendance from dozens of local small and medium sized businesses.

Organised by the European Movement Oxford Region Branch, the event hosted by the University sought to improve understanding and encourage debate.   

This follows a Federation of Small Businesses survey from February which found that “just over half of members…did not feel informed about the EU referendum.”

Speaking on the case to Remain was Dinesh Dhamija, the founder, former Chairman and CEO of Ebookers.com and founder of the Copper Beech Group.

Making the case to Leave was Garry Heath, the Director General of Libertatem and former Director General of the IFA Association.

Attendees were also presented with research and analysis on the implications of an EU Brexit for business from Nick Jeffrey who is Director of Public Policy at Grant Thornton International Ltd.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice Chancellor Oxford Brookes, hosted the debate after a request from a member of the Brookes Society who is in the European Movement Oxford Region Branch. Speaking after the event, Professor Fitt said:

“We recognise that, like our own staff and students, small and medium businesses will have a variety of views on the issues surrounding the UK’s membership of the EU. As an academic institution, we particularly welcome and encourage discussion on this vital decision. It is therefore our policy that we welcome the holding of debates on the EU Referendum on campus, but that they must not campaign for just one side of the debate.

“We were therefore happy to host this event on our Headington Campus and I have no doubt that all who attended will have learnt more from the arguments put forward by both sides of the debate.”

Professor Fitt was one of 100 university leaders to write an open letter, published in the Sunday Times, which argued the case for UK membership of the European Union enhancing the positive impact of universities “on our economy, driving growth, generating jobs and ultimately improving people’s lives”.