Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg paid a visit to Ashfield on Friday to see how being a member of the European Union has helped an Annesley-based business flourish.
Mr Clegg was shown around Autofil Worldwide Limited’s state-of-the-art factory at Sherwood Park along with Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Ashfield, Jason Zadrozny.
Autofil is Europe’s largest supplier of coloured polyester yarn - which is used in the manufacture of interior textiles for cars and other vehicles. Around 95 per cent of its £35m turnover is derived from sales in continental Europe, meaning that the 200 people it employs are directly affected by the UK being a member of the EU.
Mr Clegg said that companies such as Autofil show how well-paid and skilled jobs in this country are dependent on Britain’s EU membership.
“Of course I want the EU to reform - it doesn’t work brilliantly and perfectly all the time. Of course I want a referendum,” he told Chad.
“But above all, let’s not do what UKIP and large parts of the Conservative party appear to want, which is to jeopardise our place in the European club, because so many hundreds of thousands of jobs in this part of the Midlands and indeed, millions of jobs across the country, are in one way or another dependent on our place in the EU.”
Mr Clegg and Mr Zadrozny saw how Autofil spins and dyes polyester yarn ready for sale to companies that will make it into fabric, before selling it on again to seat system manufacturers which supply car manufacturers. Every 24 hours it produces 7,000 bobbins of yarn - enough to go round the equator ten times.
Anthony Ullmann, the company’s managing director, said that if Britain was to leave the EU, it could threaten jobs in Ashfield because it would hand an advantage to its competitors on the continent.
“Ninety-five per cent of our sales go into the single market - the EU is important,” he said.
“Businesses invest in Britain because it’s an important part of the EU.
“If it was no longer in the EU, businesses that make investment decisions would have to rethink their investment for the future.”