‘The overall verdict is clear. EU membership has destroyed British jobs and done nothing to boost the productive efficiency and export competitiveness of our economy. From an employment perspective, EU membership has been strongly against our national interest’. Wrote Tim Congdon in his booklet Europe Doesn’t Work.
So why does the pro-EU brigade frequently claim that leaving the EU will cost Britain three million jobs?
The ‘three million jobs’ myth is one of the most pernicious and ludicrous political lies ever told. A clear attempt to move the debate towards fear. It has no basis in fact.
The falsehood took hold following a report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) in 2000. The report concluded some 2.7 million jobs were directly related to trade with the EU and another 500,000 were indirectly linked, but it was unlikely many of these jobs would be lost if Britain were to leave the EU.
Jobs linked to EU trade is not the same as jobs dependent on EU trade. It is trade that’s the issue, not EU membership.
When the figures were seized upon by Europhiles for propaganda purposes and used to suggest three million jobs would be lost, the Director of NIESR, Martin Weale, repudiated the claim and described it as ‘absurd… pure Goebbels. In many years of academic research I cannot recall such a wilful distortion of the facts.’
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat President, told a fringe event at his party conference in September 2013 that the three million jobs line should not be repeated as it was ‘not credible’. Yet Nick Clegg doggedly repeated it several times during his debates with Nigel Farage ahead of the 2014 European elections. The word ‘desperate’ comes to mind.
Jobs across Europe depend on trade relationships, not EU membership. Businesses trade, countries don’t. In any case, more jobs in Europe depend on trade with the UK than vice versa. The EU sells £28 billion more to us annually than we sell them.
The writer Frederick Forsyth hit the nail on the head when he said:
‘The supposition is that the other twenty-seven nations of the EU, which jointly make a £163 billion a year trading surplus out of us, would simply launch a trade war and refuse to buy another pennyworth of British products. The fact that we could then do the reverse and cause the firing of five million European workers (which we would never do either) is never mentioned.’ Daily Express 18th July 2014.
Some jobs will almost certainly be lost, yes, but nothing like three million. The NIESR report stated only a fraction of that number would be in jeopardy if we left, and then only for a short time.
What we might lose on the swings, we would gain on the roundabout, as we forged our own worldwide trade deals, prioritised British workers for jobs and freed businesses from the straightjacket of excess regulation to encourage entrepreneurship and Britain’s manufacturing industry.
The only jobs we would not be able to get back would be those of the seventy-three MEPs Britain sends to Brussels. For the ones who are members of UKIP, that day cannot come fast enough!
Reproduced (with kind permission) from Why Vote UKIP 2015 by Suzanne Evans, UKIP Vice Chairman.