UKIP accuses the Chancellor of attacking enterprise and betraying the self-employed

 

Responding to the Budget UKIP Economy Spokesman Mark Reckless AM said:

“The Conservatives have today lost any claim they may have had to represent either White Van Man or the many women who create businesses as a route to combining a continuing economic contribution with family life.

“In this Budget, Philip Hammond has launched an unnecessary and foolish attack on enterprise. To claim to be making life better for the employed by making life worse for the self-employed is the worst kind of levelling down. It is an approach more befitting of big state socialism than of a party that claims to understand wealth creation.

“Self-employed people create their own jobs. They have no paid holidays, sickness benefits or company pension schemes and in fact no guaranteed income at all.

“They show guts and determination. And like the rest of the electorate they were promised that the Tories would not be whacking up national insurance rates in this parliament. In their case it is going to be a promise broken.”

Mr Reckless added: “The growth and borrowing projections announced in today’s Budget show that the Brexit vote of last June has had no negative impact on the economy and that the dire forecasts of George Osborne were merely a cynical political scare tactic.

“Philip Hammond is right to talk up the prospects of the British economy in the years ahead, rather than irresponsibly talking them down as his predecessor did in the run-up to the referendum.

“UKIP has always argued that the British economy will flourish outside the EU – as we regain the power to agree our own free trade deals and remove ourselves from future waves of Brussels red tape.

“Our relatively buoyant economy is an early sign that the British people were right to disbelieve the merchants of doom.

“That the Chancellor now has some financial wiggle room due to better than expected tax receipts and lower unemployment is reassuring in advance of the Government’s negotiations to exit the EU.

“Mr Hammond is right not to spend this initial Brexit bonus. Our national debt is alarmingly large and while the deficit is lower than previously expected that debt is still growing.

“In fact the Government should be making significant savings from bloated spending areas. UKIP for example would look to cut foreign aid spending by £10 billion a year, scrap the wasteful HS2 project and rebalance the Barnett Formula so resources reflect real needs.

“With some of those savings we could afford to remove VAT from domestic energy, hot takeaway food and female sanitary products as soon as Britain is out of the EU. We could also avoid clobbering the self-employed with extra National Insurance as the Chancellor does today. We need to help hard-pressed people with the cost of living, not clobber the self-employed.”

Green energy eating its own tail

UKIP’s energy spokesman Roger Helmer has spoken out against the latest EU energy policies.

The party’s MEP for the East Midlands spoke in an plenary session in Brussels last week on the EU’s objectives for ‘secure, affordable and sustainable energy.’

He said: “For many years the EU has followed policies which directly militate against those objectives.

“Germany, with the largest renewables investment, now uses increasing volumes of lignite. In the UK, we are planning to use diesel generation as back-up.”

Mr Helmer quoted a front page story from The Economist magazine, ‘Clean Energy’s Dirty Secret.’

He said: “It says we have created regulatory and subsidy structures which militate against energy infrastructure investment, and threaten security of supply.

“Yet the EU’s latest proposal amounts to little more than bureaucratic paper-pushing.”

His comments follow reports this week on the House of Lords report into the energy policies of the past three Governments.

The report criticises the open-ended nature of renewables subsidies.

Mr Helmer said: “Hard-working families, and indeed industry, is hit by the the costs of renewables and the EU and successive Government’s obsession with them.

“The cost of this obsession with weather-dependent energy is plunging us into an energy crisis.

“As reports say, it doesn’t matter how many extra renewables we subsidise, the wind won’t blow harder, nor the sun shine more – and that extra cost burden is carried by ordinary families and businesses up and down the land.”

The message of GM’s EU exit

General Motors’ decision to sell Opel/Vauxhall to Peugeot is a reminder that the European market is in decline. Post-Brexit Britain needs to look beyond it.

As Matthew Lynn points out in the Telegraph, by selling Opel/Vauxhall, GM isn’t pulling out of Britain. It’s pulling out of Europe. That’s telling.

GM hasn’t had an easy decade anywhere. It was bailed out by the US government in 2008, temporarily ending up in public ownership.

But its lack of profitability this side of the Atlantic has much more to do with the European market.

Annual car sales in the EU are still 20% lower than they were in 2007. By contrast, US car sales hit a new record in 2016 – with GM’s sales in December 2016 10% higher than in December 2015.

The EU’s economic problems aren’t going away. Another sovereign debt crisis is imminent. The EU doesn’t have the flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions. And even if it did, the plain fact is that Europe is in demographic decline.

Whichever way you look at it, the European market is shrinking. It’s no longer the comparatively dynamic trading bloc that Britain joined forty years ago.

Britain needs to reorient its economy toward the growing regions of the world to prosper. That would have been the case whatever the result of the referendum.

Of course we want – and will negotiate – access to the EU market post-Brexit. But we can’t stake our future on it.

Brexit provides the opportunity we need to revamp our trade policy for the twenty-first century. Let’s make sure we take it

Real free trade is only possible outside the EU

“Leaving the single market is protectionist”, claims George Osborne. He couldn’t be more wrong. Quitting the ‘single market’ is what will make free trade possible.

The so-called ‘single market’ is really a single regulatory system. Its purpose is not so much to facilitate trade but to create supranational law. As George might recall, that’s what the electorate rejected on June 23rd last year.

Remainers like Osborne seem to believe that free trade requires supranational regulation. But that’s patently false. We don’t need to have the same laws as another country to trade freely with it.

Instead, all we need to do is mutually recognise each other’s laws. Whatever it is legal to buy and sell in the EU, for example, it should be legal to buy and sell here – and vice versa.

Think that can’t work?

Actually, that’s exactly how free trade in the European Common Market worked some forty years ago, before widespread harmonisation. It’s called the Cassis de Dijon principle.

Supranational regulation isn’t just undemocratic. It can be trade-destroying, rather than trade-creating. It results in overregulation, inflexibility, and – worst of all – regulatory capture, as corporate special interests with expensive lobbyists co-opt the rules to cut out competition.

In place of barriers between countries, it creates barriers to small business and disruptive innovation.

We should have a free-trade deal with the EU. It’s in our mutual interests to strike one.

But that deal cannot entail any kind of ‘single-market’ membership. Britain must no longer be subject to EU laws.

If the EU refuses to trade on new terms, we will have no option but to walk away. But that will be their protectionism, not ours.

Post-Brexit, we will be free to set our own tariffs, make our own trade agreements, and decide our own rules. Our trade will be as free as we want it to be.

I’d like to see Britain make a raft of free-trade deals, based on the principle of mutual recognition – as per a forthcoming paper to be published by the UKIP PRU.

Brexit will only end in protectionism if people like George Osborne keep insisting free trade must be tied to supranationalism. That false assumption must now be laid to rest.