Liblink… Vince Cable: Europe is an anchor for British business

For centuries, Britain has developed economically through being an open, outward-looking country. Today, the economy has a high level of global integration. The UK is the world’s fifth largest exporter of goods and services, and we attract more foreign direct investment than any other European country.

…Vince Cable, writing in the Guardian.

Vince is responding to the CBI report, published today, setting out the economic case for the UK remaining in the EU, and the direction of travel for reform.

In particular, Vince takes on the argument that the UK would be in a better position to trade with the rest of the world if we were outside the EU, and that foreign investment does not come to Britain in order to access the single market.

Significantly, the report concludes that far from acting as a constraint, the EU serves to anchor the UK’s global trade. By being part of a group that is pursuing an outward-looking approach to trade, it is easier for British firms to export and invest internationally. The best way to retain the UK’s place as a competitive economy is to work with like-minded European countries to maintain a liberal approach to trade.

Some key facts from the report:

  • Staying in the EU is “overwhelmingly” in the British interest.
  • 8 out of 10 CBI members want to stay in.
  • Benefit of EU membership £1225 per person per year (quoted as £3000 per household in some places) against membership costs of £116 per person per year

Japanese firms alone have created 130,000 jobs in the UK, and access to the single market is highlighted as one of the main reasons for this. (Report, page 64)

There are, of course, regulatory barriers to business within the EU – as indeed there are nationally. There is no justification for jettisoning important environment, worker and consumer protections, but of course regulation should be proportionate and moderate. The need for such reform is widely recognised across Europe. The CBI report is a compelling business-based argument for the UK remaining an active member of the EU. Millions of jobs and livelihoods depend on it.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • Will someone please stop Vince (or his lackeys) playing with statistics and compare like with like:

    ” The report estimated that each British household derives annual benefits of about £3,000 a year from EU membership. That compares with an annual net contribution per person of just over £110 to the EU budget.”

    I like that you’ve done it properly 🙂

  • David White 5th Nov '13 - 1:00pm

    It makes me feel good, relieved even, to be able to agree with both Tim Farron and Vince Cable when they both finf themselves able to support my point of view!

    Britain’s membership of the EU is vital to our national success – even economic survival? Therefore, I feel that we should push the CBI’s line in the run up to both the EU election and the general election. The CBI has done us a favour by sketching the outline of several leaflets and a brace of party political broadcasts!

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