Commenting on the CBI’s claims that there is no alternative to EU membership, Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of Vote Leave said:
‘The CBI’s unflinching support for Brussels is simply not credible. They have consistently called it wrong on the EU, ranging from support for joining the euro to opposition to a referendum and support for the Exchange Rate Mechanism. Now they want us to believe that we can’t take back control from Brussels and secure new trade deals.
‘Not only they are wilfully misrepresenting the debate over leaving the EU but they are not even being straight over who they speak for. You can’t trust the CBI on EU, they are the voice of Brussels.’
The CBI claims that there is no alternative to EU membership.
- The CBI knows the real Albanian option is to vote to stay and supports free movement with Turkey.
- If Norway, Switzerland and Canada have such a bad deal, why do the peoples of those countries not want to join the EU?
- The CBI refuses to disclose how many members it has. When it was campaigning for the euro, it admitted it had just 2,037 ‘direct’ members, 0.06% of British companies.
- The CBI claims to speak for 190,000 businesses . It is doubtful the CBI is even in contact with this ‘indirect’ membership (i.e. companies that are members of trade associations that are affiliated to the CBI).
- It appears that 28.9% of the 190,000 businesses the CBI claims to represent are farmers, who are opposed to EU membership by nearly 2:1.
- The CBI misrepresented business opinion on the single currency. Its landmark EU membership survey was called ‘dodgy’ by the British Polling Council.
- Recent business surveys have shown growing hostility to the EU.
- Business polling has consistently shown a majority of firms want the British Government, not the EU, in charge of trade policy and reject the premise of the so-called ‘single market’.
- The CBI hardly ever criticises the EU and is funded by the European Commission.
- The CBI’s own report on the EU referendum showed growth would be higher in the event of a vote to leave the EU.
The CBI knows the real Albanian option is to vote to stay and supports free movement with Turkey.
Albania is currently a candidate country to join the EU and the UK is currently paying nearly £2 billion to it and four other countries to join the EU.
In 2008, Gary Campkin of the CBI said ‘the CBI would support free movement in relation to Turkey, as we have done with the A8 and the A2’.
If Norway, Switzerland and Canada have such a bad deal, why do the peoples of those countries not want to join the EU?
Norway: 74% of Norwegian voters would say no to Norway joining the EU. 17% want to join.
Switzerland: According to a 2012 poll for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, just 6% of Swiss voters favoured joining the EU, against 63% who want the present bilateral arrangements preserved and 11% who want to join the European Economic Area (EEA). The Swiss People’s Party, which is anti-EU, won the October 2015 general election. Switzerland has withdrawn its application to join the EU.
Canada: The prospect of Canada applying to join the EU is so fanciful no opinion polling has been conducted.
The CBI refuses to disclose how many members it has. When it was campaigning for the euro, it admitted it had just 2,037 ‘direct’ members, 0.06% of British companies.
The CBI claims that: ‘the CBI is the voice of business’ and that ‘we’re the voice of business’.
The CBI is notoriously secretive about the number of members it has and the composition of its membership. It has consistently refused to state how many members it has.
The CBI claims to speak for 190,000 businesses (3.52% of British firms). It is doubtful the CBI is even in contact with this ‘indirect’ membership (i.e. companies that are members of trade associations that are affiliated to the CBI).
The CBI’s 2012 annual report refers to a ‘direct corporate membership’ and ‘organisations [represented] through their affiliations with trade associations that are direct members of the CBI’. The CBI has previously admitted to a parliamentary committee that it has both a ‘direct’ and an ‘indirect’ membership.
In 1999, when the CBI was campaigning to join the euro, it was only able to poll ‘indirect’ members with the consent of the relevant trade association, suggesting it has no direct contact with them.
190,000 companies amount to just 3.52% of the UK’s 5.39 million businesses.
It appears that 28.9% of the 190,000 businesses the CBI claims to represent are farmers, who are opposed to EU membership by nearly 2:1.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) is an affiliate member of the CBI.
The NFU has 55,000 members in England and Wales.
This would suggest that 28.9% of the 190,000 businesses the CBI claims to represent are, in fact, farmers.
A recent survey for Farmers Weekly showed that by 58% to 31%, farmers would vote to leave the EU.
The CBI misrepresented business opinion on the single currency. Its landmark EU membership survey was called ‘dodgy’ by the British Polling Council.
In 1999, the CBI claimed that three in every four businesses backed British membership of the single currency.
Polling by ICM showed that just 32% of British companies supported joining, with 64% of CBI members opposed to scrapping the pound.
The CBI’s landmark 2013 pro-EU survey was condemned as ‘pretty dodgy’ by the Nick Moon, Secretary to the Management Committee of the British Polling Council following a complaint from Vote Leave’s Campaign Director, Dominic Cummings.
Recent business surveys have shown growing hostility to the EU.
By 46.4% to 42.8%, British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) members who do not export would vote to leave the EU.
A majority of IoD members (50%) agree that the UK could make an economic success of leaving the EU.
Business polling has consistently shown a majority of firms want the British Government, not the EU, in charge of trade policy and reject the premise of the so-called ‘single market’.
Polling by Perspective Research Services in August 2015 found that, by 69% to 25%, SMEs agree that the UK can trade and cooperate with Europe without giving away permanent control to the EU, rejecting the proposition that ‘the single market’ is good for jobs and living standards. By 74% to 22%, SMEs believed the British Government, not the EU, should be in charge of trade policy.
ICM polling in April 2004 found that by 82% to 14%, British Chief Executives believed that the British Government, not the EU, should be in charge of trade negotiations.
The CBI backed British membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) and subsequently campaigned to scrap the pound.
In a 2015 CBI document celebrating ‘[h]ighlights from the CBI’s first 50 years’, the CBI included how in 1987 it ‘called for full UK membership of the European Monetary System, arguing that the discipline of a more stable exchange rate could help to increase Britain’s share of world trade’.
In 1999, the CBI argued that joining the Euro would ‘deliver significant benefits to the UK economy’, including allowing British companies ‘to participate fully in a more complete and competitive single market’ and removing ‘from the UK economy the harmful impact of exchange rate volatility’.
The CBI has consistently called for the further transfer of control to Brussels. It welcomed the Nice and Lisbon Treaties and secretly lobbied the Government not to ask for substantive changes to the UK’s terms of membership during the renegotiation.
The CBI claimed that the need for the Nice Treaty was ‘pressing’.
In 2008, it stated that it ‘welcome[d] the attempt to clarify the role and remit of the EU’ in the Lisbon Treaty.
Leaked documents revealed the then President of the CBI, Sir Mike Rake, who is now campaigning to remain in the EU, privately urged the Government ‘not to overplay our hand in the negotiations with Brussels’.
The CBI hardly ever criticises the EU.
An analysis of a year’s worth of CBI press releases showed only 1% of them were critical of the EU, and that the CBI did not challenge any of the 2,337 laws or 852 judgments passed by Europe during the period.
The CBI recently failed to comment on a European Court ruling holding that insurance claims handling services had to be made subject to VAT. Freddy Macnamara, founder of insurance group Cuvva, said: ‘Removal of VAT exemption on claims management companies would be a disaster, meaning a multi-billion pound rise in premium for responsible insurance customers’. The CBI made no public comment.
The CBI is funded by the EU.
The CBI received £955,484 from the European Commission between 2009 and 2015.
The CBI’s own report on the EU referendum showed growth would be higher in the event of a vote to leave the EU.
A report by PwC for CBI found that in the periods 2021-2025 and 2026-2030, growth would be higher (or the same) if the UK left the EU (whether or not in struck a free trade agreement with the EU) than in the counterfactual in which the UK remained in the EU.
The report also found the economy would grow substantially in the event of a leave vote, stating: ‘Compared to 2015 levels, real UK GDP would be 39% larger in the FTA scenario and 36% larger in the WTO scenario in 2030’.
The report showed that 3 million jobs would be created even in the event the UK left the EU and traded on WTO terms.