Businesspeople should stay away from Mrs May’s disastrous Brexit deal – we can do so much better

JOHN LONGWORTH

We will hear a lot of noise over the coming days and weeks from multinationals, often foreign-owned or run, calling for acceptance of the deal being put forward by the Prime Minister, because it is in their narrow vested interests that the UK. should remain trapped in the customs union and tied to EU regulation.

Multinationals see their advantage in segmenting markets, producing cheaply and selling at the highest possible margin. Barriers to entry of competition are a positive for them, gaming complex regulatory systems are their meat and drink.

If foreign-owned and run organisations have any loyalty beyond maximising executive bonuses and shareholder return, it is to their homeland. It is little wonder that some of the most vociferous proponents of a bad deal for Britain have been the German-owned Siemens and BMW, the Franco/German owned and German-run Airbus and the French-owned Nissan. Even the Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover has a German Chief Executive.

Only 8 per cent of UK businesses, representing 13 per cent of the economy have any trade with the EU and yet 87 per cent of the economy and 92 per cent of businesses are shackled by EU regulation and taxed by EU tariffs. UK consumers are paying over the odds as a consequence and UK taxpayers are themselves paying to sustain this regime. We are in a bizarre looking glass world.

There are undenied rumours that Greg Clark, backed by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, secretly promised foreign-owned car manufacturers that the government would engineer our continued membership of the Customs Union for their convenience. That would mean Britain signing away any possibility of trade deals around the world or of reducing the cost of living and boosting the economy by the removal of EU imposed tariffs, purely in order not to inconvenience a car industry which represents half a per cent of UK employment and 4 per cent of the economy. A car industry which would be marginally impacted in practice.

It means accepting the worst deal in history, a deal which will keep the UK in the same position vis a vis the EU as a colony. A perpetual rule taker, with British consumers and taxpayers a profit “milch cow” for French agriculture and German manufacturers.

Many thousands of British business owners and entrepreneurs want rid of the EU straitjacket, but many dare not say so because of the current climate of intimidation from the business establishment.

The deal that has been put forward would have taxpayers pay £39 billion (and more according to the Chancellor’s red book) for nothing, money which could be invested in boosting the economy, enough to pay for 60 thousand nurses, teachers and police, a cost of £2500 for families across the country, £600 for every man, woman and child.

May’s proposal will see the UK trapped forever in a Customs Union that will prevent us making trade deals around the world including with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We will be cutting ourselves off from a world in which 90 per cent of future economic growth will take place. Liam Fox and his Trade Department will be redundant.

The duff deal will give EU access to our fishing waters continuing the demise of the UK fishing industry. We already see forty large foreign trawlers hoovering up our fish stocks in the Bristol Channel while our lonely boats pick up the crumbs. This picture is repeated all around our shores.

Under the Prime Minister’s sell out, we will remain tied to EU regulations, the final nail in the coffin of trade deals and a denial of any differential advantage to UK business.  A continuing dead hand of European bureaucracy bearing down on 100 per cent of our economy for the sake of 13 per cent. But more than that, it completely undermines the promise that we would take control of our own laws.

With the Eurozone going towards a single finance minister, unified fiscal policy and taxation, the implications of the squeeze this control of regulation beggars belief.

It means accepting the worst deal in history, a deal which will keep the UK in the same position vis a vis the EU as a colony. A perpetual rule taker, with British consumers and taxpayers a profit “milch cow” for French agriculture and German manufacturers.

Many thousands of British business owners and entrepreneurs want rid of the EU straitjacket, but many dare not say so because of the current climate of intimidation from the business establishment.

The deal that has been put forward would have taxpayers pay £39 billion (and more according to the Chancellor’s red book) for nothing, money which could be invested in boosting the economy, enough to pay for 60 thousand nurses, teachers and police, a cost of £2500 for families across the country, £600 for every man, woman and child.

May’s proposal will see the UK trapped forever in a Customs Union that will prevent us making trade deals around the world including with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We will be cutting ourselves off from a world in which 90 per cent of future economic growth will take place. Liam Fox and his Trade Department will be redundant.

The duff deal will give EU access to our fishing waters continuing the demise of the UK fishing industry. We already see forty large foreign trawlers hoovering up our fish stocks in the Bristol Channel while our lonely boats pick up the crumbs. This picture is repeated all around our shores.

Under the Prime Minister’s sell out, we will remain tied to EU regulations, the final nail in the coffin of trade deals and a denial of any differential advantage to UK business.  A continuing dead hand of European bureaucracy bearing down on 100 per cent of our economy for the sake of 13 per cent. But more than that, it completely undermines the promise that we would take control of our own laws.

With the Eurozone going towards a single finance minister, unified fiscal policy and taxation, the implications of the squeeze this control of regulation beggars belief.

John Longworth is an entrepreneur, chairman of Leave means Leave and is on the Advisory Board of a Economists for Free Trade and the IEA. He was formerly Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce.

November 14th, 2018: Telegraph