June 23, 2016

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Brexit: Fire and Safety Industry Reveals its Voting Intentions

A panel at today’s IFSEC International show invited executives working in the UK’s fire and safety industry to indicate which way they would vote in the Brexit referendum and why.

All opinions expressed were personal rather than those of their company.


IN: Dr Debbie Smith, Managing Director, BRE Global

‘We are a service provider to the European security industry working in testing, approval and standardisation. When look at research funding for new product and service development, very much of it comes from the EU with little support from UK government.

The EU has removed barriers to trade and opened up the market and I think it would be a retrograde step to reverse that.’

IN: Wilf Butcher, CEO, the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP)

‘We have grown with the EU progressively and worked closely enough with it to have a direct influence on where we are now in terms of European standards. If we move away from that we will lose the ability we have had to manipulate that process. We work closely with European trade associations and federations and know what the effect of Britain being in the EU has done for our sector. I seriously fear what will happen if we leave.’

IN: Ian Moore, CEO, Fire Industry Association

‘My concern is that if we leave all the experts agree the economy will take a hit in the short term at least and European investment may dry up completely. All of use will find this market a little tougher for a while. You do not have to be in the EU to take part in standardisation programmes, but being inside does give you more input. We have a natural advantage in that the discussions in these meetings are all in English. We do not want to throw that away.’

OUT: James Kelly, Chief Executive, British Security Industry Association (BSIA)

‘We surveyed our members on this issue and did not get a particularly large response. Those that did reply indicated a 50/50 split. People do not believe there will be an Armageddon impact on the UK economy and I a confident that we can cut deals with other countries and continents. There will be some slight turbulence if we leave as the markets perceive some uncertainty, but I think we will bounce back and still be a key part of Europe.’

OUT: Martin Harvey, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Tyco International

Europe has worked in some respects but not others. I have personal experience of laying off at least 1,000 people in the UK when jobs in factories and design centres went to other countries. I think we could actually stand on our own two feet and there is a much bigger world out there beyond Europe. At the moment the EU is harmonised on standardisation but not really on the nuts and bolts when it comes to installation, whereas other big global players are picking up on that.’

IN: Enzo Peduzzi, President, Euralarm

‘I am an Italian living in Switzerland and a convinced European. There is strength in our fire safety industry but we can only make it as global players against the US and China if we are united. It would be a pity if the UK leaves the EU and bad for both sides.’

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