John Caudwell, the founder of what was one of the UK’s largest independent mobile telephone retailers, has denounced as “rubbish” the suggestion that three million jobs will be lost if Britain leaves the European Union (EU).
As a successful entrepreneur — in 2006 John Caudwell sold The Caudwell Group, including Phones 4u, for a sum of £1.47 billion — some may have predicted the renowned philanthropist (pictured, abseiling down The Shard for charity) would join other business leaders in backing Prime Minister David Cameron’s Remain campaign in the upcoming referendum.
Instead, Mr. Caudwell told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme there is “a lot of hysteria about why Britain should stay in. There is a lot of subjectivity.”
Contradicting much of the economic argument EU supporters have made regarding international commerce, he said there is nothing to stop Britain setting up its own trading links around the world. Mr. Caudwell explained:
“You hear three million jobs will be threatened as a result of leaving Europe. That is complete rubbish.
“Being a free country to trade with every country in the world and not to be seen to be a partisan part of Europe, that is a good thing because other countries will be free to set trading philosophies and policies
“…being a free country to completely freely trade with the world and not be seen to be an integral part of Europe is a positive thing.”
The man once dubbed the UK’s biggest taxpayer had already noted that as a result of EU membership the country takes an annual £8 billion hit through net financial contributions the state is forced to make to the politico-trading bloc, adding:
“So that’s eight billion gone from the British taxpayer. Gone for good.”
“In addition to which,” he continued, “we have the security risk as a result of the immigration policies of Europe…it’s the fact that the immigration policy is set by the Europeans and not by the British. You know, we ought to be able to set our own immigration policy and therefore be able to control our security.”
The BBC interviewer suggested that as a “very wealthy man” who has done well in life, Mr. Caudwell would not be affected by any negative outcomes of a Brexit. He replied:
“You’re right that I won’t be affected, but I believe that the British citizen will be positively affected by the leaving of Europe.”