Britain Strangled in Europe

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Lies, damned lies and hardly any statistics! A response to the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign leaflet.

“Over 3 million UK jobs are linked to our exports to the EU.”

What do they mean by “linked”? Will there be 3 million additional unemployed if we leave the EU (or anything like that)? This is typical disinformation, any well-reasoned analysis will show a slight effect, either positive or negative, depending on assumptions about trade barriers and work substitution. Also many continental-EU jobs are “linked” to imports to the UK. Assuming a total trade embargo, how many jobs would the EU lose? Over 6 million according to well-respected economist Ruth Lea.

“For every £1 we put into the EU, we get almost £10 back” (through increased trade, investment, jobs, growth and lower prices.

I can’t see the research behind that but since growth and lower prices, we’re told, are partly responsible it’s clear that it can be questioned. UK growth differs considerably from EU growth so they can’t be intimately coupled.

“Being in the EU means lower prices in the shops.”

True we don’t pay duty on BMWs but we pay above global prices for many things, like food, because the EU is a customs union that protects producers from competition. We would be richer if we paid world prices and so able to afford BMWs plus tax, or we might improve our trade gap with Germany by choosing Jaguars instead.

“200,000 UK businesses trade with the EU,” (helping them create jobs here in the UK)

Of course more trade helps businesses but this unquantified statement doesn’t help us understand how much difference the EU makes or how much we’d lose if we left.

The UK gets £66 million of investment every day from EU countries”

How much of that do we stand to lose? Opinions differ.

We are safer thanks to the European Arrest Warrant.

So far this has applied mainly to criminals, not terrorists. We’re greatly hindered in removing suspected terrorists because of the EU. Experts flatly disagree with each other about this.

Good for families – with lower prices in our shops because it’s cheaper to trade and there’s more choice – helping family budgets.

The EU customs union means we’re “protected” from global prices which offsets gains from zero tariffs. The balance can be argued but food almost certainly costs more.

Good for workers – with over 3 million jobs linked to our exports to the EU and vital workers’ rights – including paid holiday leave and maternity and paternity leave – protected by the EU.

“Linked” is a weasely word, I doubt they would dare swap it for “dependant”. Outside the EU we could vote for a government that promised to protect workers’ rights, like we used to; or these could be harmonised – a French 35-hour week and a Greek pension age of 60 would be lovely.

Good for small businesses

Most small businesses won’t notice.

Good for young people

Hey, our universities get nearly £1 billion from the EU. It’s nice that we get some of our money back.

Good for women

Women’s rights have advanced for a century, mostly without EU influence. We could of course choose to reverse these if we left the EU though half the electorate might not be too keen.

 

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