More than 300 leading business figures have put their name to a letter to the Daily Telegraph, calling on the UK to leave the European Union as our membership is undermining competitiveness. They state that the EU is stifling Britain’s 5.4 million businesses with red tape at a cost of £600 million a week. The signatories argue that the UK will thrive outside the EU, as we are the fifth largest economy in the world, are home to three of the world’s top 10 universities and have ‘an unrivalled reputation for innovation and creativity’.
Peter Hargreaves, co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, wrote in today’s Times that the EU is ‘anti-business’ and ‘stymies small businesses trying to grow and does little to protect employees and consumers‘. In the Sun, serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson said that life outside the EU will be a ‘bright, secure future…full of opportunity’. Lord Farmer warned in the Telegraph that EU rules are ‘endangering the sophisticated systems and culture that drive the success of London markets’, and that a Leave vote would be a ‘bright new beginning’ for Britain.
This comes as Vote Leave research reveals how the EU’s Single Market has failed British exporters. Over the past decade, the value of British exports of goods to the EU has fallen by 18%. This compares to the value of Germany’s exports which have risen by nearly 80% over the past 15 years. It is clear that the Single Market has over-promised and under-delivered, resulting only in stifling regulation which makes our businesses less competitive on the world stage. After we Vote Leave on 23 June, we can take back control to enable our businesses to thrive and secure a prosperous future for Britain.
George Osborne fails to make case in pro-EU speech
George Osborne found himself undermined at his own pro-EU event at Stansted Airport today where he was speaking alongside Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, who has previously described the EU as an ‘evil empire’. Indeed, in 2012 Mr O’Leary criticised the EU for spending ‘most of its time either suing me, torturing me, criticising me or condemning me’ and warned entrepreneurs to ‘get the hell out of Brussels as quickly as you can or any streak of innovation and intelligence will be beaten out of you’.
Nevertheless, both men claimed that air fares would rise if we left the EU. Yet only in February this year Mr O’Leary said: ‘Will a Brexit on its own cause air fares to rise? No.’ This view has been echoed by the boss of British Airways’ parent company and the CEO of Norwegian Air.
The truth is that George Osborne is panicking about his campaign and is resorting to ever more lurid scare stories. His problem is that he’s told so many tall tales that people no longer believe what he and David Cameron say on the EU any more.