MANUFACTURING giant Siemens – which employs 500 people in Poole – has written to staff to say it believes Britain should stay in the European Union.

The company has recently created around 45 jobs at Sopers Lane by transferring work from a German factory which is being closed.

It makes traffic lights and electronic road signage at its Poole factory, which was named the UK’s best in 2010.

A letter to staff stresses is not telling them how to vote but says: “Siemens believes that being part of the EU is good for UK jobs and prosperity and we have concerns about the possible effects of a vote to leave.”

It says Britain benefits from “tariff-free access to the UK’s biggest export market”, common rules between 28 countries and access to EU-wide innovation and research.

“These advantages help to make Britain a better place to do business, not just for Siemens, but for companies across our supply chain and beyond,” it says.

“In addition to the benefits of EU membership, we have concerns about what Brexit could mean in practice.

"Most commentators agree that a Brexit would disrupt the economy in the short-term and we believe that uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU could have more significant and negative long-term effects.”

It says the UK could become a “less attractive place to do business” and that this “may become a factor” when Siemens considers future investment.

This is the fourth major Poole business to warn against leaving the EU after bosses of Lush, Sunseeker and Barclays publicly spoke in favour of staying in the European Union last month.

Toby Peyton-Jones, HR director for Siemens PLC, said: “The EU Referendum is for the British people to decide but we are a major employer and investor in the UK so we think it is reasonable for us to express our view to help inform the debate and to reassure our employees, customers and suppliers that we are committed to Britain regardless of the outcome of the referendum.”

Siemens’ statement was welcomed by the Britain Stronger in Europe group, whose deputy director, Lucy Thomas, said: "Siemens are a shining example of why being part of Europe creates jobs and makes our economy stronger, and I warmly welcome their support.”

But David Darling, chairman of the Dorset Out campaign, said: “I’m disappointed that an organisation as large as Siemens with some truly good employees would want to scaremonger.

“They do so many things in this country, why would they stop if we leave?

“Forty-five new jobs have been created by moving work from Germany to the UK. If they were that worried, why would they have moved them?”