As negotiations begin with the EU on 1. “the divorce settlement” and 2. the UK’s future trading and co-operation with the EU, the British economy continues to improve, “Remainer” myths about EU social welfare are exposed and we question the real value of supranational car firms exploiting the UK as an “industrial aircraft carrier”.
Stefan Oschmann the Chief Executive of the German chemical corporation MERCK (global revenues £15bn) has said that the UK is still a world leader in science and “will remain a major player – Brexit will have no influence”.
The UK is the 3rd largest global hub for innovation in the bioscience sector with the most “robust clinical pipeline in Europe”. UK “bitech” firms raised £1.13bn in 2016 – more than any other country in Europe and more than one third of the European total.
Jaguar Land Rover plans 5,000 more jobs in the UK. JLR produced 544,000 cars last year (2016) and after this expansion the workforce in the UK will be 42,000. This is in tune with the general boost in UK manufacturing, with the Purchasing Managers Index up from 54.2 in March to 57.3 in April with new manufacturing orders up at their fastest rate since January 2014.
The City of London financial markets saw a 50% increase year on year in the amount of equity raised by companies. In the first quarter of 2017 £7.4bn was raised according to an analysis by Deloitte. In 2016 over 650,000 new companies were registered in the UK – a record. All this is the clearest possible indicator of confidence in the future of the UK economy, its innovation, its entrepreneurship and its trade potential.
While young market traders in the City of London (and moronic politicians in Westminster) have been trading down the Pound those actually involved in wealth creation have been boosting our economy. Foreign Direct Investment in Britain soared to £197bn in 2016, up from £33bn the previous year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – the highest level of inflows since 2005.
LEAVING EU – BRITAIN’S SOCIAL WELFARE SUPERIORITY
One of the more persistent of the “Remainers” myths is that EU social legislation is superior to our own and without our membership of the EU workers would not have so many social supports. The facts show the opposite.
EU legislates for 4 weeks paid holiday leave – but the UK has 5.6 weeks. Maternity leave in the EU is 14 weeks but in the UK it is 52 weeks. In the EU there is no minimum maternity pay but in the UK it is 90% of wages for 6 weeks and then £140 for 33 weeks. In the EU there is no minimum wage laid down but in the UK we have one of the highest minimum wages in the world. And of course the basis of all social care is having a job.
In the EU average unemployment is twice the level of the UK while some countries like Spain and Greece have 5 times our unemployment rate. And those levels of unemployment have lasted for over 12 years, driving many young people to leave their home countries in desperation for a job elsewhere – like for instance in the UK which was not so stupid as to join the disastrous Euro!
Equal pay legislation hardly exists in the EU but was put in place in the UK before we entered the EU (in 1973). As for mobility of labour I personally went to live and work in Germany without any problem before we entered the EU, could have stayed there had I wanted to and today I enjoy a small German paid pension without any problems at all.
Only a fool or a liar would say EU membership offers a brighter prospect for British workers!
WHAT VALUE ARE THE SUPRANATIONAL CAR FIRMS?
One of the more tricky areas of UK/EU negotiation is the terms of internal corporate “trade” between countries – that is where a car company has parts sent from other EU countries for final assembly in the UK and vice versa. The more realistic value of the Pound has now reduced UK car prices in EU markets by more than any possible (WTO rules) tariff applied by the EU if we failed to come to an agreement. But what advantage have we really received as a nation from these supranational car firms using the UK principally as an “industrial aircraft carrier” on which to land, assemble and then export from?
There has been no incentive in the EU for those firms to increase UK content in the cars assembled here because it was all “in the single market”. 65% of the cars’ content typically came from abroad (burdening our balance of payments) and vast subsidies were paid to e.g. Nissan, Toyota and others to build their factories here – typically 20% of the costs (costing the UK Treasury hundreds of millions of Pounds). Other incentives were given like help with training and subsidising suppliers (a further fiscal cost). Then when the firms made a profit – that was all repatriated to their home country (a burden on the UK’s balance of payments).
Then of course these corporations often shift work to other countries, preferring cheaper labour in e.g. Eastern Europe, or threaten to do so unless even more UK subsidies are provided by the British taxpayer. So the benefit of this single market foreign “investment” is not at all clear!
But recently Cars built in UK by these supranational corporations have had increasing UK content – up from 36% in 2011 to 44% today. This is critical in the event of leaving the EU without a deal since then the EU’s “rules of origin” would kick in and the higher the UK content the more they would qualify for lower tariffs. But of course tariff free must be the aim of the negotiations – unless the EU wants to cut off its nose to spite its face!
But in any case the questionable advantages of supranational car firms for the UK mean the Government should not allow them to dictate what happens to our country, our democratic sovereignty and our future trading relationships. The people of Sunderland did not – despite the presence of NISSAN they voted to leave the EU.