The Confederation of British Industries (CBI) has warned that a Brexit would see British businesses being put "out in the cold", as the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of next week's referendum shows no sign of abating.
Speaking on Wednesday (15 June), CBI director Carolyn Fairbairn stressed that it would be much better for Britain to remain within the 28-country bloc and to retain full access to the Single Market. Citing business groups from Switzerland, Norway, Albania and Canada, she said it was in the UK businesses' best interest to vote remain on 23 June.
"Access to the Single Market allows ambitious firms to buy and sell easily in 27 other countries and smaller firms to be part of supply chains that span the continent, creating jobs here at home and making the UK more prosperous," she said.
"The Leave campaign admit that their preferred choice means withdrawing British firms' access to the EU single market of 500 million people. This will put British businesses out in the cold and hit jobs."
However, the CBI warning was swiftly dismissed as a "hollow threat" by the Leave campaign, which accused the industry body of being funded by the European Commission and of not representing British businesses.
The CBI, the pro-Brexit movement said, was "notoriously secret" about its number of members, adding people in Norway and Switzerland had no desire or intention to join the EU.
"The CBI's unflinching support for Brussels is simply not credible," said Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Vote Leave.
"They have consistently called it wrong on the EU, ranging from support for joining the euro to opposition to a referendum and support for the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
"Now they want us to believe that we can't take back control from Brussels and secure new trade deals."
Meanwhile, Rolls Royce and Berkeley Group Holdings were the latest businesses to throw their weight behind the Remain campaign, claiming a vote to leave the EU would have serious implications for British businesses.