Employers claim Britain is better off as a member of the European Union but call for reforms

It is "overwhelmingly" in Britain's interests to stay in the European Union. That is the view of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), although it admits reforms are urgently needed to address a number of pressing issues.

To support its argument, the business and employers group highlighted research showing that EU membership is worth between 62 billion and 78 billion - equating to around 4-5% of the country's total economic output.

"We have looked beyond the political rhetoric to examine the pros and cons of EU membership and British business is unequivocal - the Single Market is fundamental to our future," said director general John Cridland.

"We are better off in a reformed EU than outside with no influence. Each year, membership is worth 3,000 to every household in this country."

But if Britain is to grow and create opportunities and jobs for all its citizens, the CBI claims Europe has to become more open and competitive.

Removing barriers to e-commerce, becoming more outward-looking and re-focusing the work of commissioners across the continent are just three of the many changes that business leaders want to see the EU implement.

"Contrary to popular myth, the UK is influential in the corridors of Brussels and will still be as long as we play our cards right," added Mr Cridland.

"The single market is a great British success story and the best way for us to remain a leader on the world stage is from within the EU."

Established in January 1993, the Single Market allows the free movement of goods, people, services and capital.

It means companies can sell their products across member states, citizens can live and work in any other country, currencies and capital can flow freely, and professional services can be offered anywhere.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the CBI's report makes a powerful business case for the UK's continued membership of the EU.

"EU membership is one of the reasons why Britain is an attractive place to invest, as businesses in India told me last week," he declared.

"We can only build a stronger economy working together with our neighbours, exerting maximum influence in our continent and leading the reform agenda as the most liberal economy in Europe."

Copyright Press Association 2013