Business leaders warn 'Brexit' puts jobs at risk

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As fears grow that the U.K. could leave the European Union when a referendum is held in June, the heads of many of the country's largest companies have rallied around the "stay" campaign, according to a report in The Times.

In a joint letter published in the newspaper on Tuesday, 200 business leaders – including 36 from the country's 100 largest firms, representing diverse sectors and employing thousands of people – threw their support behind an agreement reached between Prime Minister David Cameron and the EU at the weekend for reforms to the union designed to keep Britain in the 29-country bloc.

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"Following the prime minister's renegotiation, we believe that Britain is better off staying in a reformed European Union. He has secured a commitment from the EU to reduce the burden of regulation, deepen the single market and to sign off crucial international trade deals," the signatories of the letter state.

Those signing the letter included the leaders of aircraft manufacturer Airbus, retailer Marks and Spencer, oil giant BP, pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca and fashion house Burberry among many others.

They warned that leaving the EU would put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk and would threaten the country's economic prospects.

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"Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs. We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the economy at risk. Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the EU."

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