Since the BREXIT vote in the summer, speculation about what this really means for business in Britain has been rife. Campaigning for Britain to be inclusive and open for business with Europe and the rest of the world is what the Open Britain campaign aims to be all about.
At a recent Open Britain event with Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Rt Hon Anna Soubry MP, Chuka Umunna MP, and our legal advisor and mentor Nick Gouldwas in attendance, it was discussed how to take on board the latest research on how the UK economy’s key sectors link to the EU’s Single Market. Open Britain believes Britain is stronger with Europe, insisting it is not about returning to the arguments of the referendum, but about achieving the best possible deal that protects Britain’s economy, society, national security and place in the world.
The event launched new research written by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, commissioned by the Open Britain campaign. Key findings of the report can be found below:
- Every major sector is linked to the EU Single Market and could be harmed by opting for a sector-by-sector FTA that prioritises certain sectors over others.
- A sector-by-sector approach to pick winners cannot be achieved without the risk of creating losers. Cherry-picking would be made difficult because there is considerable linkage between the sectors.
- Leaving the Single Market is likely to entail secondary effects, such as falling investment. If there is a change to UK-EU trade arrangements the effects can be expected to reverberate throughout the economy, while the uncertainty of negotiating an FTA would generate hold back investment.
- Many of the largest and fastest growing UK sectors export most to the EU. It highlights the manufacturing sector, saying it is heavily dependent on exporting to the EU and would certainly suffer significantly if access is restricted or held back by tariff barriers.
- It says the creative sector is set to become the largest sector in the UK economy and is heavily dependent on EU labour: Any move to cut immigration from the EU would be a body blow to this sector and would have a significant impact on UK GDP growth.
- The UK, in or out of the Single Market, will have to comply with market-relevant EU regulations if it wishes to trade with the EU. The important issues are the initial form of compliance and the influence that the UK can eventually negotiate.
- Regulatory autonomy could lead to decreased market access so could be ‘a costly ideal.’ Under an FTA, ‘the UK could end up being a rule-taker for industries where it wishes to secure access’, with less potential to influence decision-making than from within the EEA.
Nick Gould comments:
- “A week after the Referendum and with everyone trying to guess what Brexit would look like, I wrote, “if anyone tells you they know, they are either lying or they are time travellers.” I think it is important to share whenever possible, relevant information without in any sense making judgments or taking sides.
- ‘The first Open Britain meeting concentrated on the UK’s possible future relationship with the EU, accepting that the June Referendum result means Britain will leave the EU (let’s put aside all the legal and other hurdles for now), Open Britain is looking for a “Soft Exit” which of course at the moment means whatever politicians want it to. For example, this approach might leave the UK’s existing relationship with the EU as close as possible to the existing position. Whether you are a Remain or Leave person, the manufacturing and creative industries fall right down the middle of this discussion so involvement and debate is essential.”
CEO of FashionCapital and Fashion Enter, Jenny Holloway, added:
- “I do agree that the Creative Sector is at risk when in garment manufacturing we are dominated by highly skilled machinists that are from EU; particularly from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. This is however exactly why we have the Fashion Technology Academy where we have written new qualifications at Level 1 and 2 to start a production revolution. These skills are taught by fully trained and experienced technicians that have run their own factories and companies. The doors are open if you want to earn real skills for real jobs or just come and see what we do!”
The fundamental message from Open Britain is that 'we are stronger with Europe and that In or Out of the EU, Europe is central to the future of our country: our economy, our environment, our cohesion.'
To find out more about Open Britain click here.