Letter in support of PM’s stance on a EU referendum signed by bosses of Wates, Berkeley Homes and Arup

Business leaders including Berkeley Homes’ Tony Pidgley and Wates Group’s Paul Drechsler have backed David Cameron’s new approach on Europe.

A letter to today’s Times, signed by 56 industry and City leaders, also including JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford, Arup chairman Philip Dilley, Sir John Ritblat of developer Delancey and Hammerson chairman John Nelson, endorses the Prime Minister’s promise of a negotiation followed by an “in-out” referendum within five years.

The leaders – a third of whom are Tory peers or donors – say Cameron’s promise, which he made in a landmark speech yesterday, is “good for business and good for jobs in Britain”.

 They dismiss criticism — repeated by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg yesterday — that putting a question mark over Britain’s role in the European Union will jeopardise investment, arguing that what is needed is a “new relationship with the EU, backed by democratic mandate.”

Letter to the Times in full:

Sir, As business leaders we are passionate about Britain’s prosperity. We agree with the Prime Minister that Britain’s best chance of success is as part of a reformed Europe. We need a new relationship with the EU, backed by democratic mandate.

Business faces ever more burdens from Brussels and the single market in Europe has not yet been fully realised. The euro crisis has created the circumstances for a new EU settlement. This is the moment to push for a more flexible, competitive EU that would bring jobs and growth for all member states. That means completing the Single Market and quashing the culture of red tape.

Now is our chance to reform the EU from within. The Prime Minister is right. This is a European policy that will be good for business and good for jobs in Britain.

John Ayton, Bremont Watch; Sir Anthony Bamford, JCB; Sir John Beckwith, Pacific Investments; Samir Brikho, AMEC; Sir George Buckley, Arle Capital; William Butler-Adams, Brompton Bicycles; Stephen Catlin, Catlin Group; Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher; Andrew Coppel, De Vere Group; Gerald Corbett, Betfair; Mick Davis, Xstrata; Philip Dilley, Arup; Paul Drechsler, Wates Group; Ralph Findlay, Marston’s; Rupert Gavin, Odeon & UCI Cinemas; Ben Gordon, Britvic; Michael Gutman, Westfield Group; Lord Harris, Carpetright; Aidan Heavey, Tullow Oil; Robert Hiscox, Hiscox; Brent Hoberman, made.com; Sebastian James, Dixons Retail; Luke Johnson, Risk Capital Partners; Andrew Law, Caxton Associates; Lord Leach, Open Europe; Alistair McGeorge, New Look; Jon Moulton, Better Capital; Charlie Mullins, Pimlico Plumbers; Jamie Murray Wells, Glasses Direct; John Nelson, Hammerson; Richard Nichols, College Group; Tim Oliver, Hampden Holdings; David Ord, Bristol Port Company; Alan Parker, Brunswick; Sir John Peace, Burberry; Tony Pidgley, Berkeley Group; Sir John Ritblat, Delancey; Nick Robertson, ASOS; SIr Simon Robertson, Rolls-Royce; Xavier Rolet, London Stock Exchange; Sir Stuart Rose, Ocado; Joanna Shields, Tech City Investment Organisation; Michael Spencer, ICAP; Tim Steiner, Ocado; James Townshend, Velcourt Group; Ted Tuppen, Enterprise Inns; Moni Varma, Veetee; Paul Walsh, Diageo; Robert Walters, Robert Walters; Joseph Wan, Harvey Nichols; Tom Wells, Charles Wells Pub Company; Nick Wheeler, Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts; Bob Wigley, Stonehaven; Charles Wigoder, Utility Warehouse; Lord Wolfson, Next