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Setting Business Free: Into the Global Economy



Setting Business Free: Into the Global Economy is a research paper published by The Hampden Trust and The Freedom Association in which Professor Patrick Minford CBE reveals the total cost of the EU and how the case for “Brexit” has now become “overwhelming”.

In this publication, Professor Minford describes how the European Union will be obsessed with the euro-crisis over the coming decade, why the United Kingdom will be disadvantaged in the coming years as a result and how the UK would be able to connect with the global economy without the costly consequences of continued EU membership.

Professor Minford also estimates the cost of EU regulation to the UK at a minimum of 6 per cent per year. This is a minimum of £90 billion a year and indicates – once again – that the UK would be better off out.

Alongside this, issues that are looked at include some of the transitional concerns that the UK might face in moving from full membership to departure – and what the trading relationship might be after the UK becomes free from EU membership. In doing so, Professor Minford describes how by leaving the EU the UK would be enabled to reset financial regulations to its own free-trade interests and that it would allow the UK to integrate into the global – rather than the regional – market.

Setting Business Free: Into the Global Economy puts forward the following arguments:

  • EU protectionism will probably increase; even within the EU, covert protection against non-euro countries could occur.
  • The cost of EU regulation is at least 6 per cent of UK GDP – around £90 billion – with the total cost of the EU over 11 per cent of UK GDP per year (circa. £165 billion).
  • Even without any change in the status quo the economic costs to the UK of the EU are substantial and are likely to increase under the pressure of the euro crisis.
  • Claims the UK would lose Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are entirely fallacious and that, free from EU membership, the UK economy’s productivity is likely to be maximized.
  • Free from the EU’s Common Tariff, the UK could instantly benefit from free trade by around 3 per cent of GDP.
  • The concern that the UK will not enjoy the ‘muscle’ of the EU in trade negotiations with third countries is confused and that, trading at world trade prices, it would be against the interests of the other parties to introduce trade barriers.
  • The UK is being constrained through regulation by countries that do not share the same industries. By leaving the EU, the UK would be able to reset its regulations in its own free-trade interests and open the UK to the global economy.

Commenting on this Simon Richards, Director of The Freedom Association, said:

“This publication shows that the regulatory burdens on UK business from the EU will only increase in the next few years. The world is growing while our membership of the EU is restricting the UK’s ability to enjoy the benefits. This publication shows that, if the UK left the EU, it would allow our businesses to capitalise on the growth that is happening elsewhere.”

Notes :

About the Author: Patrick Minford CBE has been Professor of Applied Economics, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University since October 1997. He has held economic positions in the Ministry of Finance, Malawi; Directors’ staff, Courtaulds Limited; HM Treasury; HM Treasury’s Delegation to Washington, DC; Manchester University; The National Institute for Economic and Social Research. From 1976-1997, Patrick Minford was professor of economics at Liverpool University. He was a member of Monopolies and Mergers Commission 1990-96 and one of the HM Treasury’s Panel of Forecasters (‘Six Wise Men’ 1993-1996. He is author of many books and articles on exchange rates, unemployment, housing and macroeconomics.

About the Publication: Produced by The Hampden Trust in association with The Freedom Association, this publication was submitted by The Freedom Association to the UK Government’s Balance of Competences Review.

Better Off Out is a campaign run by The Freedom Association, a non-partisan pressure group dedicated to principles of freedom and national sovereignty. To keep up to date with the campaign, do follow us on Twitter @BetterOffOut.