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Business Leader Blog Posts, EU Referendum Series – Johnnie Arkwright, Hatton Country World

Hatton Country World

As part of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s EU referendum activity we’ve challenged a selection of business, academic and political leaders to share their views on Brexit or remain and key aspects of the debate so far. All views expresses are those of the authors, not the GBCC: 

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Business Leader Blog Posts, EU Referendum Series – Johnnie Arkwright,  

Project Fear has inundated us all with gloomy economic forecasts from The Treasury, CBI, IMF , OECD and , of course , big business. An annual hit on growth of .5%, they say.

They all want to Remain - like they wanted to stay in the ERM and be in the Euro - and like they didn't see the 2008 financial crisis coming.

And ,if I was one of those highly paid executives in the Establishment or dependent on the Government for income, so would I. Because the EU is designed for mega banks and multi-nationals not SMEs like us . Don't believe me - well, please do watch https://www.brexitthemovie.com/ and also both Andrew Neil dealing with the CBI on Sunday Politics 22nd May and Paxman on Brussels, available on BBC I-Player.

Moreover, be aware - 85% of new jobs since '08 have come from us SME's,  not these guys .

Hardly any coverage from the highly regarded Economists for Britain and some of our greatest entrepreneurs who see real growth prospects Out.

And if you think that the Eurozone's fundamental flaws aren't one day going to lead to appalling financial repercussions for EU Members, please do heed the warnings of our last Governor of the Bank of England ,Mervyn King - a man who is now able to speak his mind - in the End of Alchemy.

As for the short-term - yes, a change of such significance is likely to lead to a very short term wobble. But think of this little calculation

  1. 87% of GDP is not connected to the EU and 94% of UK companies don't export to the EU; yet all are still subjected to EU Regulations - estimated by The Treasury to cost business £125bn/year ; save 10% ie £12.5bn which the independent Open Europe think we can.
  2. The UK Government invests part of its £9.8bn net annual saving (ONS) in improving UK productivity.
  3. By repatriating this £9.8bn and saving £12.5bn every year, the UK will become increasingly competitive in the global market ; if sales went up by just the £22.3bn, GDP would increase by 1.1% not the drop that the doomsters are predicting. And it could easily be much more.

And , yes, we WILL do a bespoke Trade Deal with the EU - because they have a trade surplus of £85bn with us , and we'll be their biggest export market ; for every car we export to the EU, we import two. If Germany (the EU Masters) wants to stop exporting £17bn of cars a year because of new tariffs and put 40,000 carworkers out of a job, our car manufacturers will no doubt be only too happy to take up the slack!

And "time is on our side" as the Stones sang but Remain don't : only we can invoke the Article 50 procedure to leave, and we won't do that until we've teed up the necessary deals with the EU and around the globe.

But average EU tariffs are only 3.5% - tiny compared to currency fluctuations - and the WTO protects us from higher tariff rates anyway : incidentally, our trade surplus in services (90% of the UK's private sector) with the US is double that with the EU and there's no trade agreement at all.

We are FAR, FAR SAFER voting to leave; to establish a new relationship with the EU and to make our own new trade deals with all the other 170 countries in the world - something we can't do whilst in the EU.

And that's before the absurd notion of the UK having zero control over migration - who, how many and what skill sets. 330,000 net last year - 30% of Birmingham in one year and probably many more each year in the future with Mediterranean unemployment at unacceptable levels and 77m Turkish in the EU? Wouldn't it be nice if our own elected Government could decide?

Being able to kick out the people who make our laws wouldn't be a bad thing either! 

About Johnnie:

Johnnie is a founding director and shareholder of businesses with around 300 employees in the leisure, property and farming sectors. These include visitor attractions Hatton Countryworld near Birmingham and Willows near London, visited by a million people a year. He is Chairman of Business for Britain West Midlands. Business for Britain is an independent campaign, involving people from all political parties and none, calling for a leave vote in the forthcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

About The GBCC’s EU Referendum Series:

According to a recent British Chambers of Commerce survey of West Midlands members, if the referendum were held tomorrow: 45% of members would vote for Britain to stay in the EU and 45% would vote for Britain to leave the EU. As a result, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce will not be campaigning for either Remain or Leave, given the very real divisions that exist in the local business community.

In the months leading up to the referendum, we are actively surveying business opinion and inform the debate without fear or favour. Additionally, we will be demanding clear information and facts from both the Remain and Leave campaigns so that businesspeople can make an informed choice at the ballot box on the 23rd June. Read more about our EU Referendum activity here.