One of the ongoing debates in the WMN letters pages is about our membership of the EU. Some of the letters make claims about the advantages, or disadvantages, of our membership that are questionable.
I welcome the opportunity to respond to the letter from David Williams that challenges my figure of three million jobs being linked to our trade with the EU. Actually, the most commonly quoted figure is 3.5 million. I have never suggested that three million jobs would disappear if we left the EU , but that trade would become more difficult due to tariffs and red tape and a reduction in future investment.
All the wings for airbus planes are manufactured in the UK. Does David Williams believe this would continue if we left the EU? My source of the number of jobs linked to our trade with the EU is various, including Government ministers , the House of Commons library and Business News for Europe. They represent something like just one in ten jobs.
If David Williams likes to apply the percentages he quoted in his letter to a workforce of around 30 million he will find that
3-3.5million is not unrealistic. He suggests the CBI is split on the merits of membership of the EU. The CBI is the UK’s leading business organisation, representing 250,000 businesses.
I recommend he reads the recent 150-page report produced by the CBI entitled Our Global Future :the business vision for a reformed EU. It examines the EU and our current relationship with it. It concludes the benefits of EU membership significantly outweigh the costs to the tune of around £3,000 per annum for every household. All the possible alternatives are examined and found to be worst than the current situation.
There is no suggestion the EU could not be improved but to do this we need to work with the other member countries.
by Norman Bathurst