European Union (EU) legislation is costing every household in Britain the equivalent of £4,600 a year, the employment minister Priti Patel has warned. And she said that British businesses are being stifled by Brussels red tape, arguing that setting them free could boost the economy by billions of pounds.
Just six per cent of British companies export their goods and services to other EU member states — but all must comply with stringent regulations, costing small firms dearly
“It is a fact that while we remain a member of the European Union, our hands are tied and we are powerless to act on reducing the burdens of red tape,” Ms. Patel told an audience of business leaders in London.
“Britain is a proud nation of entrepreneurs, and small businesses … are the backbone of our economy.
“I want us to be able to do everything we can to support them to thrive, but EU membership prevents that. Unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats with no clue how to run a business and no local knowledge of this country dictate the rules that we all must follow.”
Hitting back at claims by Chancellor George Osborne that if Britain were to leave the EU, GDP would be 6.2 per cent lower, Ms. Patel cited research by the Treasury that, to the contrary, the EU imposes costs on British businesses equivalent to 7 per cent of GDP.
In 2005, HM Treasury admitted that: “Although Europe’s founders aimed to remove barriers and reap the benefits of expanded markets internally, they also sought protection and special treatment for particular aspects of their economies such as agriculture.
“This has brought costs: expensive subsidies still remain in some sectors and it is estimated that barriers to external trade and investment – such as tariffs, quotas and unjustifiably restrictive standards – could cost Europe’s consumers up to 7 per cent of EU GDP.”
Ignoring his department’s previous claims, The Chancellor used his figure to suggest that every household would be £4,300 poorer, but Ms. Patel has denied this, saying that releasing Britain from the quagmire of red tape would allow the economy to flourish.
And she highlighted further research showing that Britain has not managed to block a single one of the 72 regulation proposals placed in front of the EU Council over the last 20 years, which combined cost businesses £2.4 billion a year.
Britain’s success rate in the European Parliament is not much better — in the last full parliamentary term between 2009-2014, the European Parliament considered 1,936 motions for legislation. 576 of these were opposed by the majority of British MEPs, yet 485 passed regardless — a failure rate of 84 per cent.
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“Just think of the jobs that you could create and the investments you could make in expanding your businesses if you were not bound by these burdens,” Ms. Patel said, adding:
“Just think of the freedom you would have to innovate if we were no longer forced to compel with every diktat from Brussels.
“Just think that by getting rid of some of the EU rules that make it so difficult to create employment, we could deliver a £4.3 billion boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs.”
She went on to call for a full audit on all European regulation “so we know exactly what these regulations are.”