BRITAIN receives only 49p back from every pound siphoned to the coffers of Brussels and would “have much to gain” in leaving the EU, a report released yesterday by Business for Britain claims.
The pressure group, led by senior business figures including Labour donor and JML owner John Mills, said that British membership of the EU is “unacceptable and only going to get worse” and that an exit from the EU would make “substantial savings.”
It said the bloc is holding Britain back, unless Prime Minister David Cameron secures “fundamental reforms” to “loosen” regulations in his renegotiation process.
The report added that the EU’s “policies, not least the flawed single currency, have created the conditions for ongoing persistent economic crisis.”
However, anti-EU campaigners and trade unions warn against pinning hopes on Mr Cameron’s renegotiations.
The PM’s priorities were laid bare at the weekend as Tory sources suggested he will make opting out of EU employment protection laws such as the Working Time Directive and Agency Workers Directive one of his negotiating goals.
No2EU’s John Foster said Conservative Party reforms are expected to benefit only big business.
“The key issue for working people is that the EU sets a big-business agenda that our Tory government exploits,” he said.
“It requires privatisation, bans state aid for industry and enforces austerity. Greece today is being turned into a laboratory for neoliberal EU policies — flexible labour markets, restrictions on collective bargaining and drastic cuts in the social wage.
“These are the real reasons for saying No to the EU.”
In making efforts to “appease his Eurosceptic Cabinet members,” Mr Cameron was gambling with Britain’s future, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said.
“Yet again, Cameron is seeking to load the dice against British workers, this time attacking their rights derived from the EU. British workers won’t vote to stay in a EU for big business that is stripped of workers’ rights.
“Attacking paid holidays and equal rights for agency workers will serve only to fuel ill feeling against free movement, as employers find it easier to hire migrant workers on worse pay and conditions.”