FTSE 100 rallies as EU referendum splits businesses

<p>The FTSE 100 has made gains despite the EU debate dividing business leaders.</p>

The FTSE 100 has rallied in trading today (January 24th), but David Cameron's speech confirming there will be a referendum to decide whether or not the UK stays as part of the European Union (EU) has divided business leaders.

One group of 55 chief executives have made their support for the vote known by publishing an open letter in the Times newspaper.

The leaders – including bosses at businesses including Xstrata, Diageo and Kingfisher – said: "We need a new relationship with the EU, backed by democratic mandate."

But others were less enthusiastic, with Terry Scuoler  of the EEF manufacturers' organisation commenting: "If the door to a UK exit from the union is open it will diminish our ability to influence the reforms that Europe needs."

An in-or-out referendum has been promised by the prime minister in 2017, leaving a long gap between now and the vote for uncertainty to linger, but while most leaders wish to remain part of the European market, there is a growing argument for UK operations to be managed in Britain and not Brussels.

At 11:30 GMT, the FTSE 100 rose by 0.3 per cent to an index value of 6217 points.

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