The founder and chairman of Britain’s largest private firm has called for Britain to leave the EU, saying that he is not interested in a “United States of Europe”, and that he doesn’t think anyone else is either. He believes that Britain would be “perfectly capable” of achieving success on its own.
Jim Ratcliffe, whose chemical and manufacturing company Ineos has amassed him a personal fortune of £2.5 billion said:
“I think the UK would be perfectly successful as a standalone country, part of the European marketplace like Norway and Switzerland, but without the expensive EU bureaucracy.
“The Brits are perfectly capable of managing the Brits and don’t need Brussels telling them how to manage things. I just don’t believe in the concept of a United States of Europe. It’s not viable and it’s not a concept anyone really wants.
“Brits are British, Italians are Italian and Germans are German. Look at America. Californians, Texans, they see themselves as Americans, so do New Yorkers, but it’s not that way in Europe and never will be. We are independent countries.”
According to the Sunday Times, Ratcliffe, whose company had global sales of £18bn last year, warned that “layers and layers of European legislation on top of existing national legislation” was making Europe “very cumbersome, very inefficient and very expensive.”
He has dismissed concerns that Britain would lose trade by pulling out of the EU, saying: “European countries do not want to be without the UK marketplace. They won’t sacrifice that huge market right on their doorstep, it’s never going to happen. We’re mutually interdependent in the market sense.”
A spokesman for the non-partisan think tank Business for Britain said: “In May, the chairman of JCB said that we should not fear life outside the Union, while polling shows that a majority of businesses want a looser, trade-based relationship. It is now clear that the Prime Minister will have to deliver the “fundamental change” he promised to our EU relationship if he is to count on business support for any new deal.”