The figures suggest thisby Michael Burrage / April 4, 2017 / Leave a comment
One of the more curious aspects of UK membership of the Single Market is that successive governments have declined to monitor and measure its impact on the UK economy. Hence the Treasury’s study during the referendum was unable to cite a single source that had traced and analysed the benefits of the Single Market over time. Instead, it relied on a model to calculate retrospectively what these might have been, as the basis of fanciful predictions about the loss of GDP by 2030 if the UK left this market and traded under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
Its final estimate was that EU membership had increased members’ trade in goods by 115.1 per cent, and in services by 24.1 per cent, benefits which it unwisely assumed the UK had also enjoyed. Actually, the Treasury had itself conducted an analysis in 2005 which is known only because of a freedom of information request. That had found that membership of the Common Market had initially boosted UK trade with the EU by 7 per cent. To this, the Single Market added “a further 9 per cent” for the UK, but a 38 per cent boost for some other EU members. Understandably, the Treasury report for the referendum chose not to mention this.
All the attempts over the years, and during the referendum campaign, to persuade the British people of the benefits of the Single Market were not based on hard evidence showing how it had helped UK exports, GDP, productivity, FDI or employment. Instead they referred to the evident convenience of intra-EU trading and its uniform product standards, to the benefits of the EU’s world-wide trade agreements, and claimed that these things boosted employment and for…