A leading City figure will today warn that a vote to leave the European Union would be a gamble with the future of the millennial generation.
The Lord Mayor of London, Jeffrey Mountevans, will say that next week’s referendum is a question of freedom for Britain’s young people, who are “curiously under-represented” in the debate despite their strong views.
They speak with mainland Europeans and travel to the Continent with an “ease unimaginable” 40 years ago, he will say, and believe additional barriers will hamper their future prospects.
“The digital revolution is doing for this generation what the industrial revolution did for the Victorians: expanding their horizons and changing the very meaning of international relations,” he will tell dinner guests at the Mansion House in London.
“The flag-bearers of that revolution – the tech companies, the start-ups, the entrepreneurs who are the employers of tomorrow – indicate overwhelmingly that they need the single market to succeed.
“Will we really deny young people the interconnectedness, the freedom, on which modern economies survive – and which they themselves are best able to exploit?
“If we do, then we’re gambling with the future prosperity and innovation that we’re relying on them to produce.”
Latest polls have shown increasing support for Brexit among the UK population, fuelling retreats by global stock markets. Earlier this week, the value of the pound hit its lowest level in two months against the US dollar.
Organisations ranging from the G7 and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have warned of perils should Britain leave the EU.
Referring to his travels as ambassador for the UK’s financial sector, Mountevans will touch on this. “This is about a strong Britain, and a strong City. But it is also about a prosperous and unified world.
“In each of the 19 countries I’ve visited so far as Lord Mayor, people ask me why. Why would we give up our place at the top table of European decision-making?”