How Joining The EU Led To A Big Decline In UK Industry

The EU has damaged the UK, yet we are being led by the EU nose

May is on her knees to these unelected deadbeats. It’s shameful for this once great country.

There are crucial issues to understand about how the asymmetric single market did damage to UK industry. When we joined the EEC, now the EU, in 1973, more barriers to trade had been pulled down in manufacturing than in services. EU rules were often such that UK industry was badly damaged by the shock of joining and the continued shock of staying in as the rules increased and tightened.

When the UK joined the EU we had a 45 million tonnes a year steel industry. By Referendum year 2016 we were battling to save an 11 million tonnes industry. When we joined the EU we had a 400,000 tonnes a year aluminium industry. By 2016, we had just 43,000 tonnes of capacity left. When we joined the EU we had 20 million tonnes of cement capacity. By 2016 we had 12 million tonnes.

The crippling of our fishing industry

Just before we joined the EEC in 1971 we had a 1 million tonnes a year fishing industry. 2016, we had 429,000 tonnes landed into the UK. The five largest quota-holders controlled more than a third of UK fishing quota. Four of the top five belong to families on the Sunday Times Rich List. The fifth is a Dutch multinational whose UK subsidiary, North Atlantic Fishing Company, controls around a quarter of England’s fishing quota. Around half of England’s quota is ultimately owned by Dutch, Icelandic, and Spanish interests. In some cases EU policies are the main driver of the disaster. The Common Fishing Policy is clearly the main reason for the dreadful decline of our fishing industry, as many foreign vessels were licenced to take our fish. The total number of fishermen is around 12,000, down from around 20,000 in the mid 1990s. The number of fishing vessels in the UK fleet has fallen by 29% since 1996.

Metals output declining

The October 2013 government “Future of Manufacturing” Report showed that between 1951 and 1973 metals output rose 3% a year. Since joining the EEC/EU it has declined by more than 6%.

Between 1951 and 1973, food and drink output rose by 5.6% per year. Since joining the EEC/EU it has fallen by 1% a year. Between 1951 and 1973 textiles output expanded at 2.6% a year. Since joining the EEC/EU it has fallen by more than 6% a year.

Whilst it may not be fair to blame all this decline on membership of the EU, as there are other factors, it nonetheless shows categorically that joining the EU and helping create the so called single market has not helped us grow and has not saved many of our industries from decline.

EU energy policy and lost 

Our energy intensive businesses were often damaged by the high energy prices required by the EU common energy policy. The EU has prevented UK subsidy of industry under its state aids rules, but has often provided subsidised loans and grants to businesses to set up elsewhere in the EU. The UK has seen a spate of factory closures balanced by new and expanded facilities in poorer EU countries. The UK lost van production to Turkey, car capacity to Slovakia, chocolate to Poland, domestic appliances to the Netherlands and the Czech Republic and metal containers to Poland amongst others in recent years. In various cases there was an EU grant or loan involved in the new capacity.

Huge balance of payments deficit and industrial decline

Looking at our huge balance of payments deficit today in goods with the rest of the EU, we can see the long term impact of the EU’s damage to our manufacturing capacity.

Our balance of payments figures show us in heavy deficit in machinery, vehicles, electrical machinery, mineral fuels, plastics, iron and steel, wood and clothing. Last year our total goods trade deficit hit £85 billion with the rest of the EU. Between 2008 and 2015 our exports grew at 5% with the rest of the world, whilst falling with the EU.

Perhaps remain might like to answer the following questions? Why have we suffered industrial decline and closures with production shifting elsewhere in Europe since joining the EEC? Why do we trade in surplus with the rest of the world but have such a huge deficit with the EU? Why have we ended up importing fish, electricity, steel and much else when we used to self sufficient?

In 1970 as a whole, the trade deficit averaged 0.2% of GDP – a performance that today would be greeted with jubilation rather than despair. Not since the early 1980s has the UK run a surplus on goods, and at the last count, 2018, the annual deficit was running at £135bn. The deficit in manufactured products alone stood at £95bn.

Why would we, democratically in a majority, be made to remain?

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