The costs of the single market


Representatives of British business (Business for Britain) have made an interesting proposal. They have suggested that the complex and expensive single market rules should only apply to business for export from the UK to other EU destinations. They have shown that many UK businesses think the costs of the single market outweigh the benefits to them.

Most businesses are small and operate in a local or  regional market in the UK.  Even some larger businesses confine themselves to the UK market. There is no need to burden them with costly requirements designed for intra European trade.

Nor should businesses seeking to meet the requirements of China, America and the other non EU markets have to meet all the EU’s requirements as well. It could be easier and cheaper for our exporters to non EU destinations if they had the option to  opt out of some of the EU requirements. The Uk Parliament would ensure sufficient standards for UK businesses under a clear framework of domestic law.

It is good to see a business lobby realising that the single market programme imposes  costs and can damage business. They have come up with a flexible proposal.


  1. Mark W
    January 15, 2014

    This happens in the UK already where one industry has a Domestic set of rules and an EU set of rules. It’s the most bizarre annomaly for such a massive industry that is so unfashionable it is rarely noticed, no doubt one of the reasons this situation exists, but as I’ve been a loser since I was 26 and don’t want to pay more to go to work I won’t name the said industry that myself and millions of others use in this country everyday that benefits from demostic regulation not EU.

    1. TGod
      January 15, 2014

      The industry you refer to is the bus industry where on most bus journeys the driver must conform to a set of domestic driver hours regulations however on journeys longer than 50 km or on private hire journeys the applicable driver hours regulations are the more onerous EU driver hours regulations.

      It is just that in the past the EU granted us exemption from their rules for just a certain type of bus driving, not all types of bus work.

  2. Lifelogic
    January 15, 2014

    Well surely this is blindingly obvious to all except the EU and parliamentary fools who legislated in such an absurd way. Exporters should provide, simply for the standards required by the paying customer, relevant to the countries in which they operate. Anything more puts one at a competitive disadvantage and cost jobs and sales.

    Destroying jobs, sales and any competitive advantage seems to be the main aim of the EU though.

    1. Bazman
      January 15, 2014

      We are to build cars to Chinese and Indian crash test standards in this country or electrical goods with their safety standards and to give them a choice? Should we have that ‘choice’ here too for the ‘safe’ user and driver? Would you buy a car complying only to Chinese crash test standards.

  3. APL
    January 15, 2014

    JR: “Representatives of British business (Business for Britain) have made an interesting proposal”

    It’s interesting only in so far as while we are in the EU, Brussels will permit it. They won’t.

    Stop dreaming up fantastic scenario’s where we can live happily ever after with the big bad wolf. It wants to eat us, and the sooner you realize that, the sooner we can move it out of the house and bolt the door.

  4. Andyvan
    January 15, 2014

    It’s time people woke up to how much all government costs us and what we get in return. It’s not a good deal for anyone except those on the bandwagon.

    1. Timaction
      January 15, 2014

      Another interesting article Mr Redwood. By now it must have dawned an you and your fellow nationalists in the Tory party that your arguments prove the point that by any measure we are better off out of the political construct called the EU. It was never about trade. That was something to hide behind. It was and is about the creation of a superstate and has failed. How long before the legacy parties catch up with the patriots?
      Trade and friendship, nothing more. Last estimates I read were the UK economy is 80% internal, 20% reliant on trade. 12% outside the EU and growing, 8% inside the EU and shrinking and that doesn’t account for the Rotterdam and Northern Ireland distortions where external trade from those ports are considered EU although they are onward transit only.
      Any rational person must realise now that the firmly stated true intentions of the EU are not only out there but being shouted by Barosso, Reding and others is the need to create a United States Of Europe (No comment from your leadership or Mr Milliband).
      Your leaders have been lapped during their dithering and are calling for the impossible reform, jam tomorrow at some point, don’t know what we want and then we’ll have a referendum to support continued membership regardless of the any minor concession offered. In the meantime the EU have written their latest treaty amendments for the creation of the superstate with the UK as an auxiliary member. Out altogether would be fine with us patriots.

      1. uanime5
        January 16, 2014

        doesn’t account for the Rotterdam and Northern Ireland distortions where external trade from those ports are considered EU although they are onward transit only.

        That claims was pretty much debunked as the amounts sent to both of these ports was much less than the amount that was meant to be sent abroad.

        1. Edward2
          January 17, 2014

          Who has “pretty much debunked” the correct statement that our exports going through EU ports are counted all as being for EU destinations only.
          The figures you are basing this on would be nice Uni.

    2. Lifelogic
      January 15, 2014

      “It’s time people woke up to how much all government costs us”:-

      Imagine you had £1M invested it wisely through your life giving a 10% return for 70 years then died.

      Return with no tax say gives £1M*1.1^70 = £790M in real terms (after say 3% inflation) £100M
      With say 40% tax each year and 40% IHT gives just £35M in real terms after sat 3% inflation £4.5M

      So it cost us perhaps 95% of our wealth? But we receive a tiny number of benefits so lets say just 90%.

      But actually it is worst than this as the pre-tax return is reduced hugely too by daft regulations and restrictions rendering many activities expensive or just totally uncompetitive. Also you have the complex tax compliance cost too. Not that money is everything!

  5. Lifelogic
    January 15, 2014

    Chancellor says Europe must halt decline by backing business and curbing welfare spending if UK is to remain part of it

    Well he has had nearly four years, what has he & Cameron done about it? Absolutely nothing it seems in the EU or even in the UK, but we did get the 299 tax increases, the gender neutral insurance and annuity drivel, expensive greencrap and much more anti business drivel in every direction.

    Empty words now, near the end of your dismal term of office, are totally worthless.

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    January 15, 2014

    I am not really sure what all the EU requirements are for the UK , so it is difficult to make an informed comment , yet the problem seems typical of many others when small and individual is confused with large and prosperous.
    The problem for small businesses 30 years ago included larger companies deliberately wiping the smaller ones out in the supposition that bigger means better and more people employed with a regular salary. Of course as usual the proposed intention did not work out as the bigger became greedy and squeezed out the smaller , took the credit, made the smaller pay debts incurred and ruined lives. So it continues.

    1. oldtimer
      January 15, 2014

      Within the EU big corporations squeeze out smaller firms by securing the imposition of regulations and test procedures that small firms simply cannot afford. They will only be obvious to those firms at the receiving end of this treatment. To take a simple example I believe that homemade cakes and jam have disappeared from WI stalls because of regulations. Many small slaughter houses definitely have closed for that reason. The cost of compliance has become prohibitive – that is often the intention of the sponsor of the regulation. Doubtless others will be able to think of other examples.

      1. Edward2
        January 15, 2014

        You are correct Oldtimer.
        If you were for example, to try to start a new car company you will soon find that the major players have the market well organised.
        Just the cost of crash testing large numbers of vehicles to get the required type approval just to be able to try to sell your vehicle is sufficient to kill off any with ambitions.
        This is why the largest corporations are always in favour of the EU as it protects them from the competition of any potential newcomers to the market.

        1. Bazman
          January 16, 2014

          Britain has the largest numbers of small sports car manufactures in the world, so that is not the full story is it? Getting rid of crash testing is not going to happen nor should it.

          1. Edward2
            January 16, 2014

            I had a feeling you would come back on this Baz
            Carping and picking away in your usual negative manner and as usual missing the point.
            You often complain on here about the power of multi nationals and big business but when one simple example is given your desire to be anti anything certain people say becomes too much for you to resist.
            Try opening a bank, a building society, an insurance company or an energy company as other classic examples of how big business works in hand with government and the EU to restrict entry to the market.

          2. Bazman
            January 16, 2014

            Bank of Dave? Though what you say also applies to supermarkets. They are oligopolies like the energy companies who are a good example of the need for nationalisation because as we have seen private money is not what these companies are about. Most comes from foreign governments and much of the other national companies are nationalisation by another name such as banks. If there is any money to be made it should be made for the UK and reducing public debt. The argument that it would stymie free market trade does not carry on it’s own as it was such freedoms that resulted in this in the first place. Other countries have energy producers and banks owned by their governments as they recognise that something as important strategically and to its people should not be owned and run by foreign governments and sovereign wealth funds who only care about short term profits at the expense of the population. Ram it.

          3. Edward2
            January 16, 2014

            One minute Baz, you say all those from other nations who want to come here and try to improve their lives should be welcomed but now you are saying any who own “foreign” companies should be refused the chance to buy or own businesses in the UK.

            You are fully signed up to the EU with its central concept of open trade and open borders and you tell us about the advantages for the UK of this free world trade but in this case you don’t want it to happen
            Not quite thought through the effect of your opinions it seems to me.

          4. Bazman
            January 17, 2014

            They are closed markets in many other countries and there is evidence that in the case of power and transport companies they are using the UK to subsidise their energy to their domestic customers. You seen to be under the impression that companies are in general begnign and have the best interests of the country and customers at heart when this is far from the truth as they bleed us for more corporate welfare and not just tax breaks, expecting the country to pay for the social, pollution and health problems that they create, but claim laughably to have no responsibility for. As if. (words deleted – I will delete whole post if these words are used ed)

      2. uanime5
        January 16, 2014

        Care to explain why this hasn’t happened in Italy, which has a high number of small companies but few large companies.

        1. Edward2
          January 17, 2014

          Because Uni, you will find this applies to all EU nations as by definition there are a “few” large companies and many more small companies.
          One minute you are moaning about the power of the biggest multi national corporations and their power to expolit the market now here you are saying they don’t exist.

  7. alan jutson
    January 15, 2014

    Seems sensible as long as customers cannot take legal action against them using European law or any of its directives.

    Thus the contract is in and supervised by English Law, which is normal for most small contacts in the UK.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 15, 2014

      That relates to part of what Bill Cash MP said in the Commons on May 15th 2006, which I quoted in a lengthy comment on the last thread:

      “We need the backing of primary legislation, using the magic words,

      “notwithstanding the European Communities Act 1972”,

      and then referring to the fact that it shall be binding in legal proceedings in the United Kingdom. That provides the mechanism whereby the judiciary are under a duty to give effect to that latest Act of Parliament.”

      1. alan jutson
        January 15, 2014


        I agree ,but rather than saying UK legislation I would be rather more specific, as Scottish law is different from English law.

        In all of my contracts for my business, we quoted “under English Law” in the terms and conditions, which made it absolutely clear to all.

        I take it from your comment we have 8 years later, neither at the moment resolved or covered.

        1. Denis Cooper
          January 16, 2014

          It would be UK legislation giving that direction to all courts in the UK, including the courts in England applying English law.

  8. Mike Wilson
    January 15, 2014

    One often reads about the ‘costs of the Single Market’. I, for one, have no idea precisely what they are. Could you give us a couple of examples, Mr. Redwood, of unnecessary and costly things UK businesses have to conform to?

    1. matthu
      January 15, 2014

      Excessively onerous maternity/paternity regulations?
      Over-zealous labelling instructions in 27 different languages?
      Taxi drivers being forced to replace taxis long before they need to?
      Everyone being forced to replace light bulbs?
      Public organisations being forced to renovate more and more floor space to higher energy efficient levels every year?
      Web based companies being forced to sell to almost every country in Europe while also being forced to pay the postage costs for the return of any order worth more than £35 if a customer demands it, from anywhere in the EU.
      Companies being over-zealously obliged to document risk assessments.
      Excessively detailed data protection laws (which seem to fail when we are spying on our own people).

      1. Mike Wilson
        January 15, 2014

        Interesting – thanks for the list. So, if I decide to make a new sauce and sell it to shops, I have to label it in 27 languages? As it happens, I have an inhaler stick on my desk – the label only has English on it. Are the manufacturers breaking the law?

        If I sell my new sauce on-line, you are saying I have to be prepared to sell it to every country in the EU – even if I don’t want to?

        1. matthu
          January 15, 2014


          The European Directives & Regulations bring the direction of the European Commission to the member states while the implementation of such laws is under the individual parliaments of the 27 EU states (for the moment?) – an excellent example of such implementation is the national provisions on the elements of labels (outer packaging, leaflets, instructions for use and others) which must be translated to the national official languages – these rules are referred to as “Language Requirements”. In some cases, when there are multiple official languages in one country it may be decided to have the labels translated only in some of the languages and not all.

          Here below are practical examples:

          In Belgium the official languages are French, Dutch and German but labels may be translated only to French and Dutch.

          In Malta the official languages are Maltese and English but labels may be translated to either one of these languages.

          If you combine the above with the requirement that Web based companies are being forced to sell to almost every country in Europe, then it follows that web based countries must also provide labelling in a multitide of different languages. This is why your instructions are often so voluminous when you buy something over the Internet. Also why some labels in clothing bought over the Internet are inches long.

          But I may be wrong … EU law is not for the faint-hearted.

        2. yulwaymartyn
          January 15, 2014

          When we tried to sell surveying services to a French university near Rouen nearly ten years ago they offered to speak English during our visit but we insisted, as manners maketh man, to speak French. They were delighted and we got the job.

          As Fyodor Dostoyevsky said ” taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most”.

    2. Dennis
      January 15, 2014

      No he will not, even a relevant link it seems.

      1. Dennis
        January 15, 2014

        Oh I didn’t see the following post which does!

    3. Colin Hart
      January 15, 2014

      The entire waste management regime – recycling targets, landfill tax etc – all in the name of man-made climate change and all ‘agreed’ at EU level. It may be, as they say, the right thing going forward but it is nothing we have thought up for ourselves.

  9. Bob
    January 15, 2014

    As a nation that customarily respects rules and regulations the UK is singularly unsuitable for membership of something as overly bureaucratic as the EU.

  10. Leslie Singleton
    January 15, 2014

    I’ve just read that Osborne has opined that the EU must reform or die because of how well China and India etc are doing but the obsessed in Brussels will not come close to understanding, for what they want is a global homogenised world run from preferably Brussels where everybody has to obey the same rules set by the WU (think about it) without the slightest regard for preferences and differences and capabilities and advantages built up over millennia. To Brussels, it should be against some wretched directive for China and India to be more competitive, as they most certainly are.

  11. Richard1
    January 15, 2014

    Is Labour’s Chris Leslie’s absurd attempt to use Parliament to set remuneration in the banking sector also a product of the single market – since this idea originated in the EU?

  12. Mark B
    January 15, 2014

    These people write about matters they clearly do not understand. If you had a separate ‘Market’ for business in the UK, it would not longer be the ‘SINGLE’ Market, would it ?

    Sheesh !!

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 15, 2014

      Or even a “Common Market”.

      The eurocrats often use the alternative term “Internal Market”, that is internal to their projected new country called “Europe”.

      1. Mark b
        January 15, 2014

        Denis, yes.

        But my point is, it is ‘one’ place where all the rules and regulations are uniform. In principle a good idea if you wish to sell goods across the EU. Not so good if those that can, use it to destroy any competition, even in their own ‘home’ markets.

  13. Richard1
    January 15, 2014

    Someone knowledgeable and clear sighted needs to set out a short study of the single market, in particular how it applies to the UK. How much of the UK economy does it impact? Which industries and sectors are covered? How is it different (and better or worse) than having a simple rule that any product or service which can legally be sold in one EU country can automatically be sold in another, if a consumer chooses it, without tariffs of any sort?

    It feels as though the EU debate in the UK is going to come down to how beneficial the single market is for us. But how many of us really understands how it works and what the difference would be if we had a simple trade deal?

    Could the IEA or the Adam Smith Institute if they read this assist us?

    1. Mark B
      January 15, 2014

      Richard 1

      That ‘someone’ should be Government, but strangely, they don’t seem to want to do it.

      1. Richard1
        January 16, 2014

        Better someone independent. With this govt the result would be doctored by the LibDems

  14. Mike Stallard
    January 15, 2014

    This is how the EU sees it:

    The idea of the EU is, and always had been, the institution of one European trading bloc.
    Within that one bloc, there are rules which are controlled by Directives. There is just one European organisation which controls all the people and all the businesses who trade within that bloc.

    “More Europe” means we should (like the citizens of the USA) see Europe as our country and realise that our region is our state within that Union, under one European parliament and senate (Council of Ministers).

    “Nation” is a word which brought about the first and second world war. Nations have to be replaced by genuine democracy.

    And, if you trawl round the Europa website under trade, you can see that everything in the garden is lovely and that the EU is working successfully to improve the largest economy in the world, including China and the USA.

    1. Man of Kent
      January 15, 2014

      Yes !

      And another aspect of the stream of directives from the EU, not often mentioned, is the extreme difficulty in many industries of providing competition in the face of regulation.

      To start up and grow you not only have to raise capital for plant ,equipment and buildings etc but also prove you are and remain on top of all the regulation .

      A ‘minor’ change in regulation in eg. the rail industry can have immediate costly consequences which can actually help existing companies.

      They can adjust and eventually increase prices; which a new company in initial survival mode would find very difficult.

    2. Mark B
      January 15, 2014

      Mike said;
      “The idea of the EU is, and always had been, the institution of one European trading bloc.”

      Wrong ! It was, and is, and will always be, a POLITICAL project. Trade was just the bait the hook of integration and ever closer UNION.

  15. NickW
    January 15, 2014

    There is a problem.

    The only way that France can try and preserve it’s socialist model is to ensure that it’s competitors have to wear the same ball and chain around their ankles as they do.

    Putting it another way; there will be no unanimous agreement to any changes in EU procedures which are beneficial to UK business.

    Socialism ensures equality by dragging everybody down to the same level; that is both the French problem and the European problem.

    (Socialist leaders are exempt from the requirements of equality; for some strange reason socialism requires its political leaders to live in palaces while their populations starve, but what is even stranger is that even in democracies, voters accept that socialist politicians are exempt from any party line which might cramp their desires for luxury and privilege.)

    1. Bazman
      January 16, 2014

      Are you talking about about socialism for the rich which is what we have in common with France? No economic hardship for this financial aristocracy on either side of the channel. The debunked trickle down effect supported by tax cuts for people and businesses already hoarding large amounts of money from the previous boom whilst demand is choked off by cuts to the economy and the low paid is not the answer.

  16. Mike Stallard
    January 15, 2014

    I hate posting twice, but I think you ought to read this from Labour List because it shows very clearly the Socialist/European attitude to populism.

    “For optimists like Ed Miliband, the answer is to create “a new politics”. But what if we’ve got this totally wrong? What if we’re looking through the wrong end of the telescope? What if what’s needed is, in fact, a new electorate?

    “The one we’ve got isn’t fit for purpose any more. We’ve become a nation of the wilfully ignorant, not borne from a lack of opportunity, but from too much of it. We no longer read enough proper newspapers or watch or listen to enough news. Despite the infinite opportunities to do so, we simply don’t follow current affairs like previous generations did. Ignorance isn’t so much bliss, as standard.”

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 15, 2014

      Bertholt Brecht got there first.

      “After the uprising of the 17th of June
      The Secretary of the Writers Union
      Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
      Stating that the people
      Had forfeited the confidence of the government
      And could win it back only
      By redoubled efforts.

      Would it not be easier
      In that case for the government
      To dissolve the people
      And elect another?”

    2. Mark B
      January 15, 2014

      I think I mentioned to our kind host sometime ago when the Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, went off on one with Euro-Federalism and the EU Parliament elections. I said at the time, that he was addressing these people as they can vote in these elections as they are EU Citizens like us. And that, they had brought in under our noses a whole new electorate. Clever !

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    January 15, 2014

    It is good to read that the costs of the single market are being aired outside parliament. The pro-EU propaganda machine has already started their retaliation. There will be no solution found within the EU. Even if there were, I still want this country to be independent and self-governing and will not vote for any party or parliamentary candidate who is not of similar mind.

  18. Chris
    January 15, 2014

    There is a hard hitting and rigorous analysis of the Matthew Elliott/Oliver Lewis proposals on the R North eureferendum blog, which demonstrates why it is both unrealistic and unachievable. Elliott/Lewis refer to certain Articles in the current Treaty to support their cause but fail to mention several other key Articles, including Article 4 (TEU) and Article 4 (TFEU) and Article 114 (TEU), which would prevent them from doing what they propose. North explains the significance of these Articles: “In other words, what “Ellewis” (“Elliott and Lewis) fail to tell us is that they are proposing that the UK should be able to opt out of aspects of EU treaty law every bit as fundamental as the freedom of movement provisions, and that this could be tackled in the forthcoming renegotiation.” See link below.
    EU politics: “the British option”

    Another quote gives a flavour of North’s considerable exasperation at the fundamental lack of knowledge of legislation connected with the EU, and the role of the media in apparently promulgating the myths and not being capable of conducting rigorous investigative articles themselves.

    “Once again, therefore, we are seeing fantasy politics, a continuation of the Muppet tendency that believes we can have an “à la carte Europe”, and that the “colleagues” are going to roll over an allow the UK to cherry-pick the treaty, taking all the gain and none of the pain.

    “Needless to say, the legacy media, such as the Mail, in covering the story, find talking heads to tell us that this is a “brilliant idea”, with not a hint that we would have to invoke Article 50 and leave the EU in order to negotiate such a deal – with little prospect of getting an agreement on the lines proposed.

    “All we have, therefore, is another illustration of the child-like level to which the EU debate has descended, with supposedly serious commentators offering the impossible to the ignorant, to the applause of the empty-headed claque.”

    Reply The whole point of the debate is to establish that either the EU changes or we leave. It helps to have people who might otehrwise go along with staying in setting out the changes they want.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 15, 2014

      “either the EU changes or we leave”

      Well, the answer to that one has been fairly obvious for a long time now; in 1990 Margaret Thatcher was saying “No. No. No.” to exactly the same proposals that Reding is advancing in 2014, so the likelihood of the EU changing as some might hope seems pretty remote.

    2. APL
      January 15, 2014

      “Muppet tendency”

      If the cap fits.

    3. Mark B
      January 15, 2014

      Reply to reply;

      Debate with whom ? The EU have stated their case both openly and often. It is mentioned in the Treaty of Rome, signed by the Conservative traitor, Edward Heath. It (Rome) compels the signatory Member State too, ‘Ever Closer UNION. The end result being, and United States of Europe. This is their aim. They have NEVER hidden it. Only successive Governments have. We are, perhaps, entering the final end game and, they are going to dump us ! You are using all these little rouses to get a better deal, you won’t get it !

    4. Alan Wheatley
      January 15, 2014

      Comment on reply at Chris 9:31 – I think the EU are also saying there has to be a change, else the UK leaves! But in their case they want a more conformist attitude.

  19. peter davies
    January 15, 2014

    Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. At the end of the day 70% of UK economic activity stays within the UK. Regs and standards should be shaped to comply with whatever market they are dealing with.

    I did think though that most regulations originate at the UN/WTO level so there should be similarities in any case.

    This is best left to those that are directly affected to answer in more detail I think

  20. yulwaymartyn
    January 15, 2014

    Always looking inwards.

    Why should a British consumer accept a lower standard or design then their EU equivalents.? If its good enough for EU its good enough for me and my fellow Brits.

    1. ian wragg
      January 15, 2014

      EU standards are not always superior. Brussels would love to ban the 3 pin plug but this is far superior to the Euro model. Many specs which have been modelled around German DIN as opposed to BS are inferior as DIN was a creation of the Nazi’s to save material.
      Fitting expensive catalyst converters to cars and banning lean burn engines is inferior.

      1. Chris S
        January 15, 2014

        While I entirely agree about Catalytic Converters and lean burn engines, I would certainly not agree that the UK three pin plug and socket system is superior to the European model.

        European plugs and sockets and mounting boxes are far cheaper to produce than the UK equivalent. The fact that there is no price difference between Britain and France tells you a lot about lack of competition in the latter country.

        Our rectangular UK socket boxes require time consuming rectangular recesses to be cut into plaster board and blockwork whereas the European sockets need a single 64mm diameter hole easily cut in seconds with a holesaw. I know because I have installed many of both types in our houses in the UK and France.

        However there is the ridiculous situation where French and German plugs and sockets are not directly compatible. They look the same but the pin diameter and spacings are different !

        Both UK and European systems are far superior to US equipment.

        Incidentally, while it’s far quicker to install French sockets, the wiring is an entirely different matter.

        The best solution by far would be to incorporate a fuse into the French-pattern plug and use their circular socket. Wiring to the sockets should be by UK-type three core mains cable in a UK-type ring main system.

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 15, 2014

      Most of your “fellow Brits” do not share your attitude, you are in a small minority.

      1. yulwaymartyn
        January 15, 2014

        But Denis, being in a small minority, does not make it wrong. Also I am not sure if you are correct. My understanding is that about 30 per cent, roughly would vote to stay in the EU as it is now. A further 35 per cent ish believe in staying in if there are reforms along the lines that Cameron suggests. (ask him for details as these have,mysteriously, not been made public in advance). I am not sure if these are small minorities. I know it is not what you believe in but there is a quite a significant proportion of the population, if the polls are correct, that do seem to believe the opposite.

    3. APL
      January 15, 2014

      yulwaymartyn: “Why should a British consumer accept a lower standard or design then their EU equivalents.? ”

      They shouldn’t. But much of the EU regulations are relating to uniformity across the EU, not quality.

      1. yulwaymartyn
        January 15, 2014

        APL: fair point. However I think uniformity is a benefit too. Even in respect of the plugs example given elsewhere on this blog today.

        1. APL
          January 15, 2014

          yulwaymartyn: “I think uniformity is a benefit too.”

          Uniformity around the highest standard has its merits.

          But for example, the so called ‘low energy’ lamps that were introduced for the benefit of Phillips Electronics, aren’t any more efficient (when you take into account the additional manufacturing processes) , don’t in my experience last as long as incandescent lamps, and the underlying premise – to save energy is flawed anyway – incandecent lamps are in your house, therefore are warming your house, turn your house thermostat down by half a degree.

          And what’s more, have you read the disposal instructions for the ‘long life low energy’ lamps? They have Mercury in them which is highly toxic, so, in this case it was a commercial advantage for a EU company against environmental safety. Commercial advantage won out.

          The EU banned perfectly safe mercury thermometers*, but forced everyone to use ‘low energy’ lamps (containing mercury) which have onerous disposal requirements.

          *According to wiki Directive 2007/51/EC as of 22 January 2013.

          1. uanime5
            January 16, 2014

            incandecent lamps are in your house, therefore are warming your house, turn your house thermostat down by half a degree.

            Incandescent lamps are ineffective at heating a house, so it would be cheaper overall to use energy saving lamps and a central heating system.

            They have Mercury in them which is highly toxic, so, in this case it was a commercial advantage for a EU company against environmental safety.

            Incandescent bulbs also contain toxic substances.

            The EU banned perfectly safe mercury thermometers

            Even if the EU hadn’t banned them they would have been replaced by cheaper and safer thermometers.

          2. Edward2
            January 17, 2014

            Mercury can kill you in very small amounts
            What similarly “toxic” elements do ordinary bulb contain Uni?

            Low energy bulbs are classed as hazardous waste.
            Ordinary bulbs are not
            Clue for you there.

    4. Mark B
      January 15, 2014

      The EU and its regulations do not necessarily go for the highest standards, more something in between. Also, you have international standards which the EU signs up to and then re-distributes to other Member States.

  21. Bert Young
    January 15, 2014

    Such flexibility has existed for as long as I can remember . If you bought a car from a European Dealer it was necessary to declare it at the place of import ; the reason was the differences in many of the mechanical/electrical features ( quite apart from the fact that it was left hand drive ). Manufacturers do not need ” big brother ” to sit on their shoulders and tell them what to do and what not to do , they know very well that if they produce something that is overpriced or out of sync with public demand , they will go out of business . The Pharmaceutical industry has modifications for all sorts of markets due to restrictions and controls . George Osborne has got it right -” reform overall approach or die “.

    1. uanime5
      January 16, 2014

      The Pharmaceutical industry has modifications for all sorts of markets due to restrictions and controls .

      No they don’t. They have a standard set of rules that complies with all the requirements of the EU, USA, and Japan. This is so that they can make one product which can be exported all over most of the developed world.

      1. Edward2
        January 17, 2014

        No they don’ Uni, they have to meet the requirements of several different market areas which have different rules for testing, marking of packaging pricing and licencing.

  22. ChrisS
    January 15, 2014

    I thought the whole point of the EU single market was to make it easier and cheaper for member states to trade with each other?

    Can you give some examples of these “complex and expensive single market rules” ?

    1. Mike Wilson
      January 15, 2014

      Deafening silence.

    2. Mark B
      January 15, 2014

      Sorry Chris for the late reply. Its not the best one I can offer, but it gives you an idea.

  23. Max Dunbar
    January 15, 2014

    This seems like a good idea but it is not going to happen is it?
    It is too reasonable and logical.

  24. Iain Moore
    January 15, 2014

    I always wondered if Politicians were having a joke on us by claiming they were creating this wonderful single market by rules and restrictions. For my understanding of a market was that it was a self correcting mechanism where price and quality was determined by a contract established between buyer and seller. To have a market determined by the rules and intervention of the bureaucrat stretches the definition of market.

    The EU single market is really a concept hijacked by the EU bureaucrat to extend their meddling influence.

    PS While you are at it, the EU’s meddling should be questioned where mergers and acquisitions are concerned. The EU has no right to meddle in the internal matters of a country, such as Lloyds take over of HBoS, where they were seeking to decide on internal UK competitive matters, when that had no baring on the market share or competition within their EU remit.

  25. Chris
    January 15, 2014

    it goes without saying that the costs to businesses in the UK are very closely related to EU legislation, so Bill Cash’s letter in the D T today is relevant. It, however, covers the most important issue to me and that is the question of sovereignty. Well done, Bill Cash:

    SIR – William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, implies that the proposals by the 95 Conservative MPs to veto EU laws are not realistic, while Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, suggests that they are not workable.
    What is unrealistic and unworkable, not to mention undemocratic, is to have laws imposed upon British voters which they do not want, passed by majority vote behind closed doors. These include laws to regulate the City of London, which will stop British businesses from generating employment, economic growth and the taxes flowing from them for the provision of public services.
    We should be governed by our own laws, enforceable by our own judges and passed at Westminster by the elected representatives of the British people.

    Bill Cash MP (Con)
    London SW1

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 15, 2014

      His last sentence almost paraphrases the primary objective stated in the UKIP party constitution.

      1. Chris
        January 15, 2014

        Yes, I thought grassroots might be interested.

    2. Chris S
      January 15, 2014

      Both Bill and William are right :

      In principle most people posting here will support Bill Cash’s intentions but William Hague is quite right in that we cannot break treaties freely and misguidedly entered into by Blair and Brown. We have to negotiate our way out of them or give notice to leave the EU altogether.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 16, 2014

        Funny how it was only Blair and Brown who misguidedly entered into those treaties, not of course Thatcher with her Single European Act or Major with his Maastricht Treaty, and in no way could it have been Heath. Every time I see a Tory perpetuating this kind of partisan nonsense it just convinces me further that it would be a mistake to vote for his party. Oh, and we could have made a start on the “negotiate our way out of them” back in 2010 when Merkel demanded an EU treaty change to legalise eurozone bailouts, but Cameron just gave it to her and asked for nothing in return.

      2. Lindsay McDougall
        January 17, 2014

        I disagree. Most people agree that there must be ‘red lines’ in the Conservative negotiating position: “As a minimum, we must repeal this, this, this and this.” So what happens when the continental powers refuse? We have act unilaterally. So why wait? Let’s hear about those ‘red lines’ now – from everybody.

    3. uanime5
      January 16, 2014

      What is unrealistic and unworkable, not to mention undemocratic, is to have laws imposed upon British voters which they do not want, passed by majority vote behind closed doors.

      I thought passing laws based on a majority of votes was democratic. Is Bill cash saying that the wishes of the majority should be ignored when he supports the minority?

      These include laws to regulate the City of London, which will stop British businesses from generating employment, economic growth and the taxes flowing from them for the provision of public services.

      How exactly will preventing bankers paying themselves more than double their salary in bonuses prevent economic growth or jobs being created?

  26. John Wrake
    January 15, 2014

    Mr. Redwood,

    This is yet another distraction from the real problem.

    The real problem is our unlawful membership of the bureaucratic nightmare which is the European Union.

    Why is it that Eurosceptic M.P.s continually revert to tinkering with the rules which have resulted from Parliament’s unlawful actions, instead of taking the necessary actions to return Parliament to the rule of law? What does Euroscepticism mean to them?

    Reply Because we do not have a majority in Parliament to leave the EU!

    John Wrake.

  27. Ken Adams
    January 15, 2014

    It seems to be conservative policy to muddy the waters by coming up with nonsensical unobtainable ideas.There is in fact only one way we can achieve independence and what these people say they want, that is to leave the EU and negotiate a totally different agreement.

  28. acorn
    January 15, 2014

    The transatlantic relationship between the US and the EU is increasingly defining the shape of the global economy as a whole. Either the EU or the US is the largest trade and investment partner for almost all other countries in the global economy. The EU and the US economies account together for about half the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows. If UK goods and services products don’t meet a US and/or an EU specification, your chances of selling them to a non EU /US country that has adopted those standards, are small. I suggest you get clued up on “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — The biggest trade deal in the world”.

    It is estimated that a third of the trade across the Atlantic actually consists of intra-company transfers. The Tariff barriers between the US and EU, have been reduced. TTIP is trying to reduce non-tariff barriers caused by diverging regulatory systems (technical standards and definitions); customs and border procedures and “behind the border” regulatory restrictions, such as certain aspects of security or consumer protection.

    BTW. About half the worlds currencies are now soft pegged to the US Dollar or the EURO for exactly the above trading reasons. With Osborne economics and the likes of Business for Britain, a UK future outside the EU? What could possibly go wrong?

    1. acorn
      January 15, 2014

      Fellow number crunchers on the other side of the Channel, reckon that the UK is about 13 – 14 % of the EU28 GDP; that’s about 3.6% of world GDP (I knew that anyway). They reckon there is a plan for “Brexit”. My data sources usually start on the sauce at about 16:00 CET after a hard day data mining and number crunching. So, take this with a pinch of Garlic. They reckon, if the UK leaves the EU, a significant portion of the UK’s GDP will not leave with it. It will swap factories from the UK to somewhere, anywhere, within the Eurozone. Work that one out 😉 .

  29. behindthefrogs
    January 15, 2014

    They also suggested that part of the problem was the “gold plating” of EU rules by the UK government. Other countries that do not gold plate do not have the problems to the same extent.

    1. Chris S
      January 15, 2014

      Gold Plating :

      I would like to know why I have to obtain a very expensive certificate of conformity from the original manufacturer to import and register a car in the UK when it was manufactured and previously registered in other country ( Italy ) which was a member of the EU at that time.

      Surely if it was made in the EU and registered in an EU country that should be good enough for the DVLA ?

  30. A.Sedgwick
    January 15, 2014

    Apologies for being somewhat off topic but this piece by Allister Heath is too prescient and worthy of being a policy blueprint not to be highlighted.

  31. BobE
    January 15, 2014

    16 months to go. Although I will enjoy May as well.

  32. English Pensioner
    January 15, 2014

    A very sensible idea, which means, of course, that it will never happen!

  33. Atlas
    January 15, 2014

    John, Invert the logic and say that only goods destined for the EU need be to their dictat.

  34. Antisthenes
    January 15, 2014

    This is not a new idea I believe you, I and many others have extolled on this problem and solution many time before but came to the conclusion that the only way to achieve it is to leave the EU. I often think that many of those who propose these kind of things do not understand how the EU works, the limitations that being signed up to the EU treaties imposes and what the proposed future of the EU means and that what they want is unachievable. Renegotiation and reform is not a practical reality as the mechanism for doing these things makes it virtually impossible to do. It takes many to effect change but very few to block it and the unaccountable commissars of Brussels who really control everything will never allow anything they do not want.

    Reply Leaving is the easiest answer to current problems technically, but there is no majority in the Commons to do so. Change can be achieved by legal action, by unilateral action and by negotiation and agreement. We need to push in each of these ways pending a referendum.

    1. Antisthenes
      January 15, 2014

      Thank you for that reply. I have said before that I believe in the concept of the EU but am appalled at it’s current construct and ambitions and would like nothing better than a complete branch and root overhaul and reform of it. The EU that I would want would not have political and economic union at the top of it’s agenda but way down at the bottom to be acted upon only when and if it was deemed an absolute necessity for the stability of Europe. I cannot envisage that ever being necessary as I believe trade through a true common market is enough incentive to maintain stability. I base that on observing that globalisation and world trade is proving to be a considerable deterrent to interstate conflict. Unfortunately the greatest threat to peace is access to resources which needs to be properly addressed and hopefully will be(this is currently and not likely to be a problem confronting Europe). The political unity of Europe was a knee jerk reaction to the horrors of WWII and WWI and in that context is quite understandable however that view was never modified as time unfolded and the necessity for it diminished. As it became increasingly obvious that political unity was no longer needed the pursuit of it was not discarded as it suited powerful vested interest not to do so. It maybe by continuing along this path it will in the end cause more instability not less the signs are there already with the euro crisis. Another problem of the EU is that it is out of step with the UK on economic thinking. The EU economic construct is based anti-competitive and protectionist principles, which is a model that most EU continental member states are content with, but is completely opposite to how the UK economy works.

      I understand your concerns about the lack of a majority at Westminster and I suspect also the same can be said about the population as a whole and of course it is necessary to go through the motions of renegotiation and reform although they will in the end prove fruitless. That will benefit the euro-sceptic cause. However above I have added some reasons that if some success was achieved it is most unlikely to be enough as reforms could never satisfy or be compatible with the UK’s needs and interests.

  35. John Wrake
    January 15, 2014

    Reply to reply at 10.17a.m.:

    Your statement that since there is no majority in Parliament for leaving, you are helpless is a recurring mantra. You have explained the arithmetic many times and I am happy to agree that you have no chance of exit from the E.U. by the continuing minority votes, which seems to be the absolute limit to your thinking.

    I would suggest that signing letters to a Prime Minister who is personally committed to continuing membership is equally useless.

    If there is nothing that you can do to reassert the rule of law as part of a minority interest in the current Conservative Party, why do you continue in membership? Why do you not try something else? The same can be asked of your co-signatories of that letter.

    There should be more to an M.P. than voting for lost causes.

    John Wrake

    Reply The whole point of the Select Committe Report and the letter is to reassert Parliamentary sovereignty. We await the government’s formal reply.

    1. alan jutson
      January 15, 2014

      John Wrake

      You only need to change the minds of two MPs to get the result we all want.

      Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband.

      After that its a simple 3 line whip, the Party muppetts do as they are told, and its bye bye EU.

      I can dream !!!!!

      But that is why JR is trying to influence things from within !

      All we need now is for some Labour Mp’s to follow the same plan.

    2. Mark B
      January 15, 2014

      Reply to reply

      They gave an answer, albeit not officially. So I doubt that the official one will be any different.

      If so, what then ?

      You are running both out of options and time.

      I have said to you before, I think it is time for you to wake-up now, and start to move, and hopefully start setting the debate by talking more about the EU and what is going on.

    3. petermartin2001
      January 16, 2014

      John Wrake,

      Why do you not try something else?

      What do you have in mind? A demo maybe? Its about time those with a more rightward inclination got away from writing letters to their MPs and blogging etc. They could do something positive. There’d be chants of European Union Out! European Union Out! European Union Out Out OUT!
      You could end up with a rally at Trafalgar Square with speeches from John Redwood and Nick Farage. It would be good fun.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 16, 2014

        Done all that before, on more than one occasion. But even when there’s a march and rally of thousands of people it has little impact, as somebody complained here in November 2000:

        “I ATTENDED the Democracy Movement’s Keep the Pound march and rally in London on Saturday October 28. It was a most uplifting occasion, especially as the British Government is about to surrender yet more of our country’s independence to the EU at the forthcoming Nice Summit.

        I was bitterly disappointed, however, that the event, which was attended by some 8,000 people, failed to achieve the desired impact simply because of the lack of media coverage.

        No one will be surprised to hear that the BBC did not cover the event, but it was a matter of great disappointment that there was no reference to it in your newspaper the following day. I had expected The Sunday Telegraph, usually a champion of Euroscepticism, to have done its bit to ram the message home.”

        Nothing much has changed in that regard; a demonstration by a small group of foreign dissidents outside their embassy in London may well get on TV, but Britons protesting against the EU will usually be ignored by the mass media even if they number in the thousands.

  36. Bazman
    January 15, 2014

    ‘Made in The UK’ When exported to Chine to meet their minimum legal standards will hardly be a good endorsement for UK trade in this race to the bottom, because be sure this is what would happen.
    The next thing will be to opt out of EU working legislation in order to compete with Chinese labour laws as well.

  37. Bazman
    January 15, 2014

    Mercedes has a massive plant in China producing about 250,000 cars a year all sold in China. Who reckons they are built to Chinese crash test standards and who thinks they are to EU and American law. Have a think which one and why? Absolutely retarded idea on anything else. No world standards for labour or products? It will be higher? Get real why do you think they want it abolished.
    Looks like it was built by an Englishman as a Royal once said. Could be wrong on that one.

    1. Edward2
      January 16, 2014

      These vehicles are built to a high standard because their customers all over the world demand it and their clever engineers invent things which give their company an edge against the competition.
      To build down to the lowest standard is a recipe for disaster for any car company that wants to be profitable, successful and survive.
      For example, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Volvo invented things like disc brakes, seat belts, anti lock braking systems, anti skid traction control systems, air bag systems, crumple zones, collapsing steering columns etc etc many years before EU bureaucrats ever thought about them.
      There are quite correctly, world standards, strict liability laws and an enormous amount of regulations to ensure companies make quality products but what we are getting from the EU is a huge increase of new regulations and laws which is making Europe decline economically and increases unemployment compared to the rest of the world.
      ts not a call for no regulation as you ridiculously claim but less regulation and regulation that is harmonised all over the globe.

      1. Bazman
        January 17, 2014

        Crash test standards are lower in China so they could build to Chinese standards, which is the point being made.

        1. Edward2
          January 18, 2014

          Well its a very poor point.
          They could but they won’t, because they are a world wide company that value their brand ideals and reputation for quality and safety built up slowly and carefully over many decades.
          Why deliberately design and build lower standard vehicle just for one market when its just as easy to build the same vehicles in the same way with the same parts that you always use.
          Duplication and mass production of the same design is where the profits are not leaving off the seat belts or making them with thinner metal.

          1. Bazman
            January 18, 2014

            Cars are built for different to different specifications for markets by all manufactures. The smallest thing is done to save money. Even to the point of leaving out a power socket in the boot of the later but same model in one car I noticed. They are priced to the penny. The penny!

          2. Edward 2
            January 18, 2014

            Yes there are minor differences on trim and accessories to suit the requirements of different nations like your 12 volt socket example but the overall safety and basic construction of the vehicle is never compromised by the major world manufacturers.
            Ive spent decades involved in the automotive industry and its something I know about.

  38. Freeborn John
    January 15, 2014

    Essentialky there is no difference between this proposal and the Uk being outside the EU but a member of an organisation like EFTA or a state like Canada, Mexico, Korea etc. with a free trade agreemrnt with the Eu/EEA. It would be better all round if British politicians would honestly campaign for a relationship between Britain and Brussels such as that which Mexico enjoys. They after all have political independence and free trade with 3 Contintents via nafta, Mercosur and their FTA with the EU/EEA while we have only political subsurvience and free trade with one continent.

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    January 16, 2014

    I’m not convinced that the ‘costly requirements’ are beneficial to intra European trade either. EU law, harmonisation and regulation should relate only to WHAT is made not HOW it is made. The hours worked in our factories are nobody’s business but ours. That is why I have been ‘banging on’ so long about Treaties with the EU from which we should withdraw.

  40. John Wrake
    January 16, 2014

    Reply to petermartin2001:

    Nothing so startling as Trafalgar Square rallies.

    Simply to resign the Conservative Party Whip, remain in the present House as an Independent, and, hopefully, persuade some others who signed the letter to do the same.

    Can you imagine the effect which that would have on the Conservative leadership and Conservative Parties in the Country? Nothing more likely to change Mr. Cameron’s mind or his position.

    I am not interested in trying to change Miliband’s mind, or Clegg’s. My concern is with those who claim to be faithful to the English Constitution and do not support treasonous actions.

    John Wrake.

  41. uanime5
    January 16, 2014

    They have suggested that the complex and expensive single market rules should only apply to business for export from the UK to other EU destinations.

    That will just make the situation more complex, not less. How is the UK going to monitor every business to ensure that the goods they’re exporting to the EU have been made in accordance with EU employment laws?

    Also why would anyone work in a company where they’ll have fewer rights simply because it doesn’t sell goods to the EU?

    It could be easier and cheaper for our exporters to non EU destinations if they had the option to opt out of some of the EU requirements.

    Like all the employee rights that prevent companies discriminating against their staff and require them to provide holiday pay.

    It is good to see a business lobby realising that the single market programme imposes costs and can damage business. They have come up with a flexible proposal.

    No they’ve just come up with a proposal that would allow them to ignore a large number of laws designed to protect employees from abusive employers.

    1. Edward 2
      January 17, 2014

      You are confusing EU single market regulations with the EU’s social and employment laws.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        January 18, 2014

        The problem is that the current version of the Single Market has arisen from the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties, and from the Directives and increased QMV that arose from them. At the moment, EU social and employment laws ARE part of the Single Market. This is why it is necessary to reject the idea of an irreversible ratchet towards Federalism, to reject the supremacy of European Law except in regard to a very limited sub-set of trade regulations, and to resume as many of the powers of a Nation State as possible. In short, a bL___y great bust is PRECISELY what is needed. If that means OUT, then OUT it is.

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