The Government’s climate change secretary made the case for staying in the EU during a visit to a pioneering Horsham firm today (Monday May 9).
Cabinet minister Amber Rudd was given a tour of Ceres Power, which is based in Foundry Lane and produces next generation fuel cell technology.
She also held a question and answer session with staff on why she believed the UK and its economy was best placed to stay within a reformed European Union.
Ms Rudd, who is also MP for Hastings and Rye, described Ceres as a company ‘to be proud of’ in a field the UK was keen to support producing new sources of renewable energy.
She said: “This is a very exciting business to visit. It makes you proud to be British.
“It has such an outward looking approach to investment from Japan and the UK, and is looking internationally for opportunities to sell cutting-edge technology.”
She added: “It would be a big mistake to leave the EU.
“This is a company that is getting outside investment and those investors have made it clear they see the UK as a springboard for Europe. That is something I hear a lot from companies outside the EU.”
The advantages of having access to the single market to a firm such as Ceres were clear, she explained, while members of the leave campaign ‘crossing their fingers’ and hoping for new trade deals. She added: “I think that’s a terrible risk to take.”
Ms Rudd argued that Britain was stronger remaining in the EU, as its membership contributed towards the creation of jobs, opportunities, and greater investment.
She added: “I think we have got a very good case to make. People are concerned about their own families but I’m not complacent, we need to continue to make that case to highlight the positive reasons and the shocking lack of certainty about life outside the EU.”
She saw tackling climate change as one of the main reasons to remain in the EU as it gave the UK more influence to make sure the rest of the world takes action to reduce emissions.
She was joined on the visit to Ceres Power by Horsham MP Jeremy Quin.
Phil Caldwell, chief executive at Ceres, describe the visit as a ‘great endorsement’ of the work the company was doing to develop low carbon energy technology.
Ceres has a development agreement with Japanese multinational Honda, which will see the two companies work together to develop the steel cell technology for a range of potential power equipment uses.
Mr Caldwell explained that some of the companies they worked with saw Ceres as a ‘gateway to the European market’, and the UK staying in Europe was seen as key.
The referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU will be held on Thursday June 23.
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