Health and safety legislation - Enhanced by Europe

I have surprised myself at how passionate I feel about the Referendum debate and the compelling case for the UK to remain as part of a united Europe - both now and in the future.

I studied the history of Europe at University and relish the fact that I have lived in the peace of post war Europe throughout my life when our predecessors suffered conflict roughly every twenty years.

And peace has brought with it a focus on social justice that was never a priority in harsher times.

Enhanced by Europe - health and safety legislation has saved countless lives in our country.

It brings with it bureaucracy - but surely that is a price worth paying to save a father, sister, brother, friend?

The working time directive - which came from Europe - added complexity to HR departments throughout the land - but it put people in control of their lives and put a stop to the exploitation of previous decades.

Maternity leave - which gives mothers time at home with their babies in a way that US families cannot even dream of - was inspired by Europe.

And I am proud that post war Europe has proven a safe haven for refugees fleeing destitution or violence in their own land. I would hope that such opportunity was available to us all if we ever should need it.

All of these achievements - and more - are based on our economic strength and, in turn, that has been driven by being part of a single market which is bigger than the United States and bigger than Europe - a market which boasts over 500 million customers.

  • Over 3 million jobs in Britain are linked with our trade to other European countries.
  • In Scotland nearly 350,000 jobs are linked to trade with the EU.
  • Scottish exports to the EU - with no barriers or tariffs - are worth nearly £12 billion a year.
  • £24bn is invested in the UK from the EU which means that local families benefit directly from lower prices.

In UK banking at the moment customers enjoy low rates on credit cards and mortgages because money markets make it possible for UK banks to access relatively cheap funding based on the strength of the UK economy and of Sterling.

All of this has resulted in a confident economy, low inflation and rising house prices.

Much of this has been achieved through a stable society and a seat at the table of the single market.

The economic case is clear to me and to many other business leaders. Scotland's economic prosperity is critically linked to equal access to the biggest single market in the world.

Those who suggest we should leave the single market - and increasingly the Leave campaign are doing just that - put at risk the hard won benefits that businesses big and small enjoy as part of Europe.

Even if smaller Scottish or UK-wide businesses do not export themselves, they are often suppliers to larger companies which do just that. They are part of a critical supply chain which relies on a single market.

Larger markets, increased competition and easier trade across all Europe boost profitability for small firms and large and improve prices for customers everywhere.

Make no mistake . It is inconceivable that we could have the same equality of access to the single market if we leave the EU.

No wonder over 73% of Scottish businesses say they want to stay in Europe.

We are a generation which has enjoyed peace and prosperity beyond the wildest dreams of our forefathers. And it falls to us to decide if we will bestow the same benefits on the generations to come.

In our difficult and dangerous world the European Union - whatever its faults - has provided safety, social justice and economic prosperity for our businesses, our families and our country.

Now is the time to renew our commitment to that Union and our commitment to a certain future.

The right choice for our future, our families, jobs and for investment is to vote Remain on 23 June.

 Jayne-Ann Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money
Advisory Board, Scotland Stronger IN Europe

 Jayne-Ann Gadhia