Using Mr Osborne’s method of assessing economic loss we have already lost far more than he fears we might by belonging to the EU. (The approx. figure for losses is based on current price levels and level of GDP). Just look at the losses we can directly blame on our membership:
- Membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism forced on us by John Major, the CBI, the TUC and the Labour party. It led directly to a large recession, costing us 5% of our National Income, with losses in the years that followed.
- Membership of the Common Fisheries policy, losing us a third of our fishing output and putting us into trade deficit on fish.
- Forced premature closure of our coal fired power stations, and consequent loss of coalmines.
- Loss of heavy industry as a result of high energy prices required by EU energy regulations.
- Loss of export opportunities during Euro crisis of 2011, and over the long term thanks to slow growth in Euroland resulting from the currency scheme and its austerity policies.
There is no evidence that our growth rate increased as a result of our membership of the single market, and no favourable upward wobble in growth when they “completed” the single market in 1992 or widened it again in the years thereafter. This is not surprising as the “single market” is a set of complex and expensive rules and laws, not a proper free market. The growing complexity of EU single market measures coincides with the last decade when growth has been slower than before.
It would not be right to blame the EU on its own for the banking crash of 2008, as this also occurred in the USA. The EU version of the banking crash has however turned out to be deeper and longer lasting than the US version thanks to the ill constructed Euro.
It is right to blame the EU for the recession of 1992 when the European currency scheme swept aside any possible benefits of the single market completion that year.