A prominent property figure said Britain risks years of uncertainty and vulnerability if voters decide to leave the EU.
Just three days before the biggest political decision of the century, Stephen Beech, the boss of Beech Holdings, has urged people to back the ‘Remain’ campaign.
The 38-year-old, who employs more than 80 people, many of who whom are from other European countries and the rest of the world, supports the free movement of workers.
He also expressed concerns over investment into his home city of Manchester, saying money will ‘trickle, rather than be poured in’, if Brexit occurs.
“We aren’t safe if we leave the EU,” said Stephen, who is the owner of £65m worth of residential housing stock in Greater Manchester.
“A big reason why a lot of Beech’s staff are working here in Manchester is ‘free movement of workers’ which stems from our current EU membership.
“Britain is attractive to the rest of the world right now. But it won’t be if we leave.”
Stephen’s comments come after Prime Minister David Cameron said ‘there is no guarantee that EU nationals would automatically maintain the right to live in Britain if Brexit occurs’.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 2.1 million EU nationals were employed in the UK in the first quarter of 2016 – 224,000 more than in the same period last year.
“There’s a lot of negativity surrounding immigration and it’s been this way for some time,” said Stephen.
“But my staff come from all over the world, are highly skilled, highly trained and intelligent people.
“And that talent should remain as we want people who come to the city, to pay their taxes here, rent properties here and buy newspapers in the city.”
He added: “I’m also concerned about investment into Manchester. Everyone is waiting for Thursday’s vote and the outcome. As a result of that I think investment into the city has slowed up of late.
“I also really believe that the whole investment community that pumps millions into our city want us to stay in the EU. I don’t think we are safe if we leave.”
Beech communications executive Elise, 26, from France, said: “I have been living in this country for almost seven years, enjoying every minute of it. I have studied in the UK and pay taxes like everyone else. I have never relied on benefits and I have had a hard time following Brexit, asking myself if I was as welcome in the UK as I thought.
“Working for Beech Holdings, which values talent from all over Europe and celebrates all forms of diversity is an incredible opportunity. Hard work and success are after all, universal concepts.
“I go to the office every single day feeling lucky to belong to a company that just gets it. I hope Beech shows the way to other businesses all over the country.”
Beech office assistant Heidi, 24, from Finland, said: “I think most people are worried about money and immigration. Many businesses in the UK rely on exports to the EU, which ultimately lifts the UK economy. Additionally, most EU migrants, like myself, are already educated. Europeans working in the UK can only benefit the country.
“Giving European talent a chance has allowed our company not only to expand and create jobs for local British people but also help regenerate Manchester.”