At his keynote speech at the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference, John Longworth will say:


On business taxation:

“Let me be crystal clear: all multinational businesses with operations in Britain have an obligation to pay the full tax due on profits from their activities in this country.

“It is in their inherent self-interest to recognise – and quickly – that they only prosper with the consent of the societies in which they operate.

“Large-scale tax avoidance by multinational businesses generates huge anger among other businesses, and is seen as unfair competition that undermines the implicit contract between business and society – and of Britain as an open, free market.”

On Europe:

“As the British Chambers of Commerce, we have declared that we will not campaign, but that we will survey member companies, report their views, and inform the debate…

“Nonetheless, the people of our country now face a choice, between staying in what is essentially an unreformed European Union, with the Eurozone moving off in another direction and with Britain sitting on the margins, or leaving the European Union, with all the near-term uncertainty and disruption that this will cause.

“Undoubtedly a tough choice. You might say, a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.”

“Business leaders are, of course, by and large driven by economically rational decision making…

“Decision making in business suffers from the pressures of the short term and is naturally focused on the interests of the particular business concerned.

“If I were to ask the business community one thing in this referendum, it would be to look to the long term and the wider interests of the society in which you operate, and make your choice based not on the next financial year, but on what you want for your children and grandchildren.”


Notes to editors:

The BCC’s Annual Conference, entitled Decision Time: New Politics, New Economy, New Britain? Is taking place on 3 March 2016 at the QEII Conference Centre. For more information or to register for a free press pass, please visit or contact the press office.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 52 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. For more information visit:

Media contacts:

Allan Williams – Senior Press Manager

020 7654 5812 / 07920583381

Chris McIntyre - Press Officer

020 7654 5813 / 07825 746 812