The Black Country Chamber of Commerce held its EU Referendum debate at the Molineux, Wolverhampton, chaired by President Adrian Wright, the debate featured Johnnie Arkwright and Anthony Coombs from the Vote Leave: Take Control campaign and Wolverhampton MPs Pat McFadden and Emma Reynolds speaking on behalf of the Stronger In campaign, together with independent economist Paul Forrest from the Midlands Economic Forum.

“Feedback from the business leaders attending was every positive,” said Adrian Wright. “The speakers presented with passion and integrity and with respect for the opposing campaign.

“The decision business leaders and their employees, as well as the rest of the population, will make on 23rd June is as important as it is difficult. The Chamber’s role is to inform as best as it can so that votes are being cast in the best economic interests of the region and the businesses therein: every business will have its own take on what is best.

“There are a great number of factors that will influence how people will vote. For businesses who export to the EU, maintaining free access to a market of 508 million people is the overwhelming priority. However, companies who export to the rest of the world where there are no free trade agreements may struggle to see why they should accept EU legislation as a matter of course.

“We had great questions from the business leaders attending relating to defence, the future of manufacturing if we left the EU, the long term economic viability of the EU, trade policy, variations in unemployment levels across the EU and what the £350 million per week we currently contribute to the EU would be spent on.

“Paul Forrest was able to clearly articulate the economic issues to consider going forward and helped us to understand the costs and benefits of staying in the EU and how free trade agreements would need to be negotiated if people voted to leave.”