THE PRESS OFFICE OF
The Lord Stoddart of Swindon
20th May 2015
Peer charges CBI with being “corporatist and anti-democratic”
The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has strongly criticised Mike Rake the President of the Confederation of British Industry for his speech calling for the UK to remain in the EU, accusing the CBI of ignoring the General Election result and pursuing “corporatist and anti-democratic” policies.
Lord Stoddart said: “I find it deeply worrying that the President of the CBI has learned nothing from the recent General Election results in which political parties with EU-sceptic credentials were overwhelmingly successful in comparison to those parties who still believe in EU membership; both in number of votes polled and in percentage terms. In other words, the CBI wants to ignore the democratically expressed will of the people in pursuing its corporatist objectives.
“Sending lobbyists to Brussels rather than every capital in Europe might suit the big businesses represented by the CBI but SMEs, the lifeblood of our economy, are hugely disadvantaged. We are seeing the results of this in the introduction of the EU’s heavy-handed new regulations that have forced small businesses which sell products online to register for VAT, even if they are well below the national threshold for VAT. Many have simply abandoned online sales as a result.
“If the CBI wishes to continue to pursue its corporatist and anti-democratic policy on this issue, it needs to make clear precisely what the benefits are of staying in the EU and its approach to the problem that staying in the EU inevitably creates i.e. ever greater integration and much more red tape, which our country cannot afford. We would all do well to remember that the CBI was one of the siren voices that led the campaign to scrap the pound and join the eurozone. What a mess that would have landed us in!”
In response to a written question from the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Hansard 6.01.15), Lord Deighton, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, has provided confirmation via data from the Office of Budget Responsibility, that the UK will spend £64.2 billion (net) on EU membership between 2014 and 2020, £97.7 billion gross.
Commenting on the Government’s response, Lord Stoddart said: “I have had to combine the annual totals myself but these statistics make it very clear that we are going to continue to pay through the eyes, ears and nose for our ongoing membership of the EU, for the rest of the decade. The EU will bleed us dry to pay for public services in other member states, while steadily dismantling our Parliamentary democracy and freedoms.
“Apparently, the Government is perfectly happy with this situation and these appalling costs, despite telling us that we face four more years of austerity and with no real sign of our £1.6 trillion national debt coming down. In other words, we are financing these grotesquely huge figures out of borrowed money. We should never lose sight of the fact that we are passing these monstrous debts on to our children and grandchildren. They will pay for our mistakes and, in particular, for the folly of EU membership.”
The full text of Lord Stoddart’s question, the Government’s reply and the contributions table is as follows:
Hansard 6th January 2014, column WA137
EU Budget: Contributions: Question asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their present projection of the United Kingdom’s gross and net contributions to the European Union budget for the whole of the seven year budget agreement 2014–20.[HL3534]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The independent Office for Budget Responsibility is responsible for forecasting UK gross and net contributions to the EU Budget. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts can be found in Table 2.19 of its Economic and Fiscal Outlook supplementary and fiscal tables – December 2014 (See link below)