But when it comes to our wider relationship with the European Union, business leaders are correct in warning that we need to be in, rather than out, of the EU.
A letter published in the Financial Times this morning signed by business names ranging from Sir Richard Branson to Sir Michael Rake, chairman of BT, has performed a valuable service by asserting that the UK needs to be at the heart of Europe, not on its periphery or even outside it.
Many of us are frustrated by Europe’s restrictive rules and regulations, on employment law for instance, or its record of interfering and irrational human rights judgements. And the EU enjoys a big trade surplus with the UK, selling us more of their goods than they buy of ours.
But when it comes to the bigger picture of our economy, our jobs and our living standards we need the EU as much, if not more, than the EU needs us.
The EU is the world’s biggest exporter of goods and services, accounting for more than 16pc of global activity.
The single market remains our biggest source of business where half our exports end up and Europe remains a huge source of investment into our country.
We dislike the Emus’ politics and its institutions (including its single currency) but risk being complacent and in denial about its vital importance to our GDP.
There are good prospects that several world trade deals will be completed in the next 18-24 months including a US-EU agreement, a giant pan-Pacific deal and an EU deal on a real single market for services – which account for about 75pc of our economy at the moment.
To access and leverage those sorts of deals in the interests of more jobs and higher living standards here, we need to use our position inside the EU as part of a 500m-strong market, not on our own as a 60m market.
We want to be in the single market but out of the single currency, which is possible. But there is a political price to pay for that position which will take negotiation.
Demanding changes from the EU that are not deliverable is simply counterproductive. A subsequent referendum that takes us out of the EU, or even further to its fringes, would have a deeply chilling impact on our jobs and living standards.
A large part of our single biggest industry – financial services – would decamp rapidly for a start, taking countless allied service sector jobs with it.
There are areas of reform within the EU that we can achieve, such as to the single market, working time directive and the Emus’ budget.
It’s time for painstaking and skilful negotiation, not a stampede for the exit which would jeopardise our economy.