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'Issue too important for politicians alone'

Hunter backs book of research on EU debate

Sir Tom HunterEntrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter has stepped into the EU membership debate by commissioning a series of research papers analysing the key issues.

They are being issued in a free book entitled Britain’s Decision: Facts and Impartial Analysis with the aim of giving its readers “an informed, constructive overview of the critical issues at hand for UK voters.”

Sir Tom hopes the book will help eliminate  ‘the obfuscation, hyperbole and bluster’ surrounding the debate.

Commissioned by his venture philanthropy organisation, The Hunter Foundation (THF), and published by the David Hume Institute and the Centre on Constitutional Change, the book includes analysis of critical topics such as migration, security and welfare in and out of the EU.

In the foreword, Sir Tom says: “This decision is far too important to be left to the politicians alone to inform us. For the voter its almost – at least it is for me – impossible to determine the facts and fallacies from both the Remain and Leave camps in order to understand the issues at hand.

“That’s why, with the David Hume Institute, we commissioned impartial, factual analysis around the key questions facing voters in making their own minds up on the EU vote.”

He adds: “If poll results of November 11 last year were correct and England voted 54% to leave; Scotland and Northern Ireland would be dragged along; equally if its only say 51% in England we drag the majority of the population with us. Does this lead to another constitutional crisis and meet Scotland’s First Minister’s material change definition? Probably yes.”

Ray Perman, director of the David Hume Institute, said: “The official campaign is only just getting started, but already we are hearing some pretty sweeping assertions being made without the evidence to support them.

“What we are trying to do in this book is to provide voters with an easy reference on the major issues which are likely to come up – sovereignty, the economy, trade, immigration, welfare and so on. We are not trying to influence them to vote one way or another, but to give them some background information and expert opinion which might enable them to make more informed choices.””

It also looks at the arguments that have been made by the Remain and Leave campaigns so far, bringing independent analysis of the opposing arguments to voters and considering David Cameron’s package of negotiated reforms.

It considers what a Brexit would mean, laying out the various scenarios should Britain have to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, based on analysis of how countries such as Norway and Switzerland have fared. It considers the issues from the perspective of business generally and a number of sectors specifically, as well as looking at the potential effect on the environment, welfare and security.

Sir Tom said: “The academics commissioned hold no side in the debate: they analyse the facts and the relative merits or demerits therein to help voters – me included – to make their decision.”

The book can be downloaded for free at www.thehunterfoundation.co.uk

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