Brexit & removal of Brussels red tape will help us create jobs, say top business chiefs

The value of British exports to the EU has plummeted by a fifth over the past decade, an analysis has found.

Leave campaigners last night said the figures – from the EU’s own statistics arm – proved the ‘failure’ of the single market.

Exports to the EU fell almost 20 per cent from 2006 to 2015 – a worse performance than any member state apart from Luxembourg.

Former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth said red tape ‘stifled’ UK businesses while Business Secretary Sajid Javid said the UK was better off staying in.

The Remain camp insists access to the trading bloc, which would be under threat if Britain left the EU, was vital to economic success.

But Brexit supporters said the market had failed Britain, which was succeeding economically only through increasing exports to the rest of the world.

Former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, (pictured) who was forced out over his pro-Brexit views, said: ‘There is no area of Britain’s EU membership that has over-promised and under-delivered quite as badly as the single market.

‘Instead of being the great engine of trade it was promoted as when it was launched in 1980s, it is now at best a mirage and at worst a source of stifling regulation that holds British businesses back at home and makes them less competitive in the world markets.

‘The single market is an emperor with no clothes. We will be better off out of it and out of the EU. Voting Leave on June 23 is the way to secure a prosperous future for Britain.’

‘Better off in’

Yesterday Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘I’m a Eurosceptic and proud of it. But I still believe that Britain is better off in. And that’s all because of the single market.

‘It’s a great invention, one that even Lady Thatcher campaigned enthusiastically to create. The world’s largest economic bloc, it gives every business in Britain access to 500 million customers with no barriers, no tariffs and no local legislation to worry about.’

The European Commission has argued the single market’s success can be judged by whether it leads to increases in trade within the EU.

But Vote Leave’s study of figures from Eurostat found the value of British exports of goods to the EU has fallen 18.15 per cent over the past decade.

The value was 225 billion euros in 2006 but fell to 184 billion euros by last year.

These figures were not adjusted for inflation and do not take into account the fluctuating value of sterling against the single currency.

Germany & Spain

By contrast, Germany saw export values rise around 20 per cent, while Spain’s soared by more than 35 per cent.

A Vote Leave spokesman said: ‘The performance of British goods exports to the rest of the EU fared worse than every member state other than Luxembourg, which fell by 20.2 per cent. Only two other member states, Finland and Malta, saw the value of their goods exports to the rest of the EU fall during this period.’

Over the past 15 years, the value of British EU exports has grown 0.33 per cent, less than all other member states. German EU exports rose by 78.9 per cent in the same period.

The spokesman added: ‘These statistics strongly suggest that the single market is failing British business.’