EU: Time to leave this cash guzzling economy smotherer?

A supporter of 'Vote Leave', outspoken entrepreneur Peter Chadha shares five reasons why Britain's businesses would be "better off" without Brussels...

With the referendum coming up, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change things, and as a business person I feel duty bound to make my views heard.

I comment as a British citizen, as a small and medium enterprise ‘striver’, and entrepreneur that employs British talent, but also as someone who got a brief taste of the EU from the inside when I worked with them in the 1990s.

There are five important reasons why I think small and medium-sized businesses and the British economy would be better off without Brussels. These are:

1. The EU is an expensive cash guzzler

It costs us £350m per week (yes £18bn per year). We could build a lot of infrastructure for that. If history is a judge, EU costs will only go up based on support for the Euro project – especially if the British economy continues to thrive against its EU partners.

2. Bureaucratic EU regulations hold back small businesses

I run an IT consultancy for small businesses so I have seen first-hand how bureaucratic regulations have an impact on entrepreneurial businesses, such as my own. Even pro-Europe think tanks acknowledge the £33bn cost of EU regulations.

In fact, more hawkish commentators say regulations cost 6% of UK GDP – around £90bn. Historically British law has worked well, it’s been dynamic and a world leader in its own right, so why do we need EU regulations which emanate from unqualified judges and which are for most business owners a huge burden?

3. Economic control

The EU is a club with bias towards the dominant economies of EU, in particular Germany. Leading free market thinkers like Professor Minford of Cardiff University (one of the few voices to support Thatcherite economics in the 1980s) suggests that if Britain were free from the EU’s Common Tariff, we would instantly benefit from free trade and save costs of 3% of GDP.

4. The EU hegemony allows for tax avoidance by multinationals

When reading this, if you’re anything like me, you must be sick to the back teeth of the likes of Starbucks, Café Nero, Amazon and Facebook that are paying a fraction of the tax they owe, when we’re all paying every penny of our corporation tax!

A good example of tax avoidance is the €9 trillion that flows through the Netherlands alone (about 1/10 of the annual output of the world economy) to tax havens which are helping companies such as Facebook pay less corporation tax than a family owned coffee shop! Britain cannot counteract this due to EU laws.

5. Businesses want planned migration

Finally, most businesses like mine believe that to have sustained economic growth, we do need migration. We need to hire the brightest and the best. But, due to pressure from uncontrolled migration from the EU, the government is making it very tough (especially for small and medium-sized businesses) to get individuals from other parts of the world.

This stifles manufacturing and in the IT sector, where I operate, the EU prevents the hiring of programmers from India – which is one of the few world markets able to provide the right kind of cost-effective resource. Even the curry houses – a British favourite – are being affected with many complaining that the EU’s influence means they can’t even source Indian chefs to cook their food.

There are many other factors why I think you should vote to leave the smothering influence of the EU. The EU gravy train has been rampaging its way through the member states for too long, and picking up the perks whilst they do so.

Certainly when I worked at the EU in the 1990s, EU employees paid no tax but also received a plethora of benefits, such as a £5,000 per child payment. I was told back then there were doubts about the EU’s long-term viability (funny that!) thus tax incentives had to be given to employees. Today, EU employees do pay a small amount of tax, but still have diamond-encrusted benefits and solid-gold pensions.

Perhaps it is time to stop the EU gravy train in its tracks by voting to leave. We’ll then be able to understand what it was like to work, trade and live like we did in the past…

Peter Chadha Phd is CEO of London-based small business IT consultancy DrPete Technology Experts.

For the counter argument from Stronger In, click here.


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