Chance of Britain leaving EU "5 percent at most" - Vince Cable

FRANKFURT Fri Dec 6, 2013 1:47pm GMT

Britain's Business Secretary Vince Cable speaks at the Liberal Democrats autumn conference in Glasgow, Scotland September 16, 2013. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Britain's Business Secretary Vince Cable speaks at the Liberal Democrats autumn conference in Glasgow, Scotland September 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Russell Cheyne

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The chances of Britain leaving the European Union are "very remote" and making that point clear would help boost investment, Business Secretary Vince Cable said on Friday.

Cable told an economic conference in Frankfurt that, despite growing debate in Britain leaving the EU, the likelihood of a such a move was low.

"If you are a business person quantifying risk, I would say maybe 5 percent risk. No more," he said. "There is a risk, but it is a small risk."

Economic ties between Britain and the EU were stronger than many realised, he said, noting that Britain was completely integrated into European supply chains.

Eliminating the concerns of businesses about Britain's commitment to Europe was important to boosting long-term investment, Cable said.

"We have got to remove the degree of political risk - the worries here in Germany - about a British exit," he told Reuters in a separate interview. "We have got to calm people down."

Cable said the British government was helping to support investment by making the tax regime more friendly to companies, but that it needed to do more to improve clarity on regulation, notably in areas such as energy.

"The electricity market review is beginning to take shape. Wind energy producers like Siemens were waiting for clarity in that policy," he said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Gould and Eva Taylor; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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