The boss of major British manufacturer JCB, Graeme MacDonald, and JCB owner Lord Bamford, have spoken in support of the UK leaving an unreformed European Union, blasting others for “scaremongering” over a British exit (Brexit).
MacDonald, who oversees the management of Staffordshire-based JCB, which only today posted a £303 million profit, said leaving the EU would not make a “blind bit of difference” to British businesses. Using German car manufacturers as an example, MacDonald said: “There has been far too much scaremongering about things like jobs. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to stop trade. I don’t think we or Brussels will put up trade barriers,” reports The Guardian.
He said because the UK is such an important export market for European manufacturers, the EU wouldn’t shoot itself in the foot by putting up tariffs, and would instead agree a free trade zone, similar to that enjoyed by Switzerland. If Britain were to leave the European Union, it is claimed by Brexit campaigners that British businesses would be set free to trade with the world in a way they have been unable to do for decades.
On the global business advantage for a Britain out of the EU, Lord Bamford said the nation “could negotiate as our own country rather than being one of 28 nations in Brussels as we are today”.
MacDonald accepted that Cameron, whose Conservative party is a major recipient of donations from the JCB-owning Bamford family, should try to reform the EU from the inside first. On the changes he thought important, whether the UK was to remain in or not, he said: “What is needed is a lot less red tape and bureaucracy”.
Despite forthcoming efforts by the government to reform the EU, whether they will actually succeed remains a pertinent question. A recent research paper by Business for Britain reveals the staggering failure of previous attempts by the EU to clear red tape. ‘Cutting the red tape, is the EU listening?’ found of the 30 proposals to make the EU more efficient suggested in 2013, one third were rejected out of hand, and only six had been implemented.
Weighing against the small victory of six reforms, in the same year after the proposals were made, the EU introduced a further 1,139 new rules for businesses to obey – new law weighing in at a staggering 6.3 million words.
Of this red tape, MacDonald said: “Some of it is costly for us and quite frankly ridiculous. Whether that means renegotiating or exiting, I don’t think it can carry on as it is. It’s a burden on our business and it’s easier selling to North America than to Europe sometimes.”