Chancellor George Osborne’s warning that every household would be £4,300 worse off if Britain leaves the European Union (EU) is based a false assumption about how much single market actually means for British trade.
Treasury figures trumpeted by Mr Osborne last month wrongly claimed that membership of the single market was more beneficial for British trade than other agreements, according to thank-tank Civitas.
EU analyst Michael Burridge said in a report that statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that exports into the EU’s single market from countries with no trade agreement had grown fastest
“His findings suggest that access to the single market as a member, far from being a benefit that must be preserved at any cost, has not proved advantageous in terms of the growth of UK goods exports, and that trading under WTO rules has not been a handicap,” Civitas said.
His report found that non-EU states that trade with the EU under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules have seen stronger export growth to the single market over the past 23 years than EU states.
They haven even seen stronger growth than countries such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland which are outside the EU but have concluded their own agreements, suggesting that negotiating a new trade deal may not be necessary in the event of Brexit.
Meanwhile, the UK’s export growth to the single market has been much lower over the same period.
Mr Burrage said: “For the UK the figures of exports of goods are clear, it has been downhill all the way. It is a startling, deeply depressing finding.
“For all the sound and the fury … it turns out that the exports of EU members trading with each other have not been able to grow as fast as those of countries who have avoided the entire circus, as well as the rule-making and the membership fees.
“It is a finding comprehensively at odds with [Treasury] estimates of the past, present and future benefits of EU membership for UK trade.”
Breitbart London reported last month on a top German economist who said the risks of Brexit were overstated.
Martin Hüfner, a former Chief Economist at Germany’s second largest bank HVB, said the City of London would remain the biggest financial centre in Europe thanks to “the good people who work there, the English language and the geographical proximity to New York.”
Leaving the EU could also lead to a “booming Britain” after the country is freed from “protectionist and anti-competitive” legislation, he added.