Big Euro business breakfast

28 Nov 2014

In September 2014 Beavis Morgan helped to sponsor the launch of our client The Don restaurant’s business breakfast, which was hosted by Anthony Hilton, the Evening Standard business commentator. As partners we have a keen interest in the UK economy and wanted to allow a place to debate the key issues.

At the last of these breakfasts, in November 2014, Anthony raised the political lottery of Europe and the 2017 referendum muted by the Conservative party.

His three points on Europe were:

1.    Immigration – this is an emotive issue, but Anthony presented recent studies that continue to show that there is a net-benefit to the UK from inward arriving migrants from EU countries. They are well educated, hard working, young and less likely to claim benefits than UK citizens.
2.    Regulation – Anthony showed again from studies performed that only a minority of UK legislation was EU initiated, and where is was, it was for the maintenance of the single trading market that businesses agree is a base requirement for free and profitable cross-border trade. He also showed that we do have influence over this process, where over 50% of the time the UK MEP’s were successful in getting the changes they wished, and then 30% of the time they were at least partially successful.
3.    Cost – don’t just look at the subscription cost where £1.7bn extra has been demanded for the last 11 years, but also look at the rebates and subsidies received from being part of the EU. If that is done we are in a much more favourable position in rather than out.

The danger raised by Anthony in conclusion was that the uncertainty of whether we would be in or out of the EU from mid-2015 (post election) to 2017 (referendum) could cause inward investment to the UK from the rest of the world to dry up. This was found to be the case during the run up to the Scottish vote on whether to remain within the United Kingdom during 2014.

Anthony’s proposal, which wasn’t seriously opposed by the attendees in the room at the time, was that we are better off in the EU, and that we should work to improve it from inside.

If you would like to take part in future discussions please do contact your usual Beavis Morgan partner and we will involve you in the conversation.

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