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Democrat March-April 2014 (Number 140)

EU 3.5 million jobs lie

Report by Brian Denny

During the recent EU debates between arch euro fanatic Nick Clegg and UKIP leader Nigel Farage the Lib Dem leader dragged up the well-worn lie that 3.5 million jobs in Britain depend on EU membership.

This claim is based on one study carried out over ten years ago which the researcher himself has since repudiated.

Yet it is still being pumped out by the right wing campaign group British Influence, headed up by Tory spin doctor Peter Wilding and one Peter Mandelson, as well as by trade unions that should know better such as Unite.

To back up Clegg's big lie Brussels mouthpiece The Independent newspaper recently recycled "new analysis" using the same statistics.

But statisticians at independent fact-checking organisation Full Fact point out: "Figures from the early 2000s suggest around three million jobs are linked to trade with the European Union, they don't say they are dependent on the UK being an EU member.

"Using similar methods, a similar figure today has shown closer to 4.5 million jobs, but this still doesn't show how many are dependent on UK membership."

The 2004 paper from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) estimated, using similar methods, that up to 3.2m UK jobs "are now associated directly with exports of goods and services to other EU countries." It warned that: "there is no a priori reason to suppose that many of these, if any, would be lost permanently if Britain were to leave the EU."

In fact, NIESR director Jonathan Portes, who is certainly no Eurosceptic, described this research as "past [its] sell-by date."

The list of factories, car plants, engineering centres and jobs being stripped out of Britain's manufacturing base and transferred abroad due to the logic of the EU single market is never mentioned by supporters of EU "free movement" rules.

From Peugeot's decision to close the Ryton plant in Coventry in 2006 and move production to Slovakia and Ford's decision to transfer production from Southampton to a plant in Turkey last year, jobs in the neoliberal EU move towards the lowest wage levels and EU regional funds are actively used to encourage this process.

No politician who supports Britain's EU membership can claim to support a future of good-quality, well-paid, highly skilled jobs in Britain. In fact it is simply impossible due to membership of the Single European Market and the EU.