OREANDA-NEWS. May 24, 2016. When the UK votes on whether or not to leave the European Union (EU) on June 23rd a great deal will be at stake for the country's science and engineering related industries. These sectors remain the backbone of the nation's economy and a direct employer of 2.6 million mostly highly skilled workers. UK exports account for GBP 390 bn, the engineering sectors accounting for 44% of these exports, the majority of which go to the EU. These are among the findings of a new study, "Engineering Brexit – British industry must fight to remain", conducted by Roland Berger.

"With a trade deficit of GBP 34 bn, the UK can ill afford to jeopardize this revenue. 45% of UK exports head to the EU, while less than 10% of EU exports go to the UK, odds which would hardly seem to put the island nation in a good negotiating position," commented Tim Longstaff, Partner at Roland Berger.

The engineering and manufacturing focus of exports also leads to regional disparities: Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the North of England are the UK's only net exporters of goods. As exporters will be disproportionately hit, the Roland Berger experts note that Brexit could be a catalyst for the break-up of the United Kingdom.