Time to respect the will of the people: an open letter to Carolyn Fairbairn of the CBI

Time to respect the will of the people: an open letter to Carolyn Fairbairn of the CBI

Dear Carolyn,

I agree with you that Brexit is one of the most important issues facing our country. However, I do not believe your position accurately reflects the views of the vast majority of SMEs in our country. These companies, including our own, make up the lion’s share of businesses in the UK, yet your position is more indicative of the bias of big business and the large Trade Associations within the CBI.

You are correct to point out that most of the businesses which export to the EU are SMEs but they reflect a tiny proportion of these type of businesses which by far employ the most. What about the views of exporters who wish to see trade expanding to the rest of the world? What about the businesses who work only domestically?

Like many others, we see the opportunities that lie ahead for our company and country outside the restrictions of the protectionist bloc that has only served to hold us back.

Membership of the EU has restricted SMEs since the UK joined the bloc in the early seventies. At first we didn’t see much change, but over time the restrictions intensified as a result of poorly thought out and badly implemented directives and regulations. Of course, our own gold plating has added to the burden.

At the last count our deficit in goods was around an incredible £80 billion. They sell much more to us than we to them. Even with our trade with the real world which enjoys a surplus when added to the gain in services, it is still not enough to wipe out our country’s overall trade deficit. This has to change. Our membership of the EU does not work for us.

While not directly linked, our current national debt stands at £1.83 trillion and rising fast at over £2,000 per second. While it is not the fault of the EU that we are in such a mess, our membership has considerably restricted our ability to recover. Successive political leaders and their parties have been asleep at the wheel while signing up to EU treaties that bind our abilities even more. Just think of the future generations.

You will no doubt agree that our productivity needs to improve and that companies like ours need to have confidence to invest in the future. Remaining in the Single Market, Customs Union and under the jurisdiction of the ECJ in any shape or form would only dampen our enthusiasm and confidence going forward. Far from following the ‘Project Fear’ campaign, businesses like ours are preparing ourselves for the future outside; we are ready to invest.

To stay in any part of it will be seriously damaging and will do no more than to realise the doom-mongering Remainers prophesy.

Notwithstanding the above and more importantly, over 17 million people voted to leave the EU, and the democratic will of the British people should be heard and followed. Large companies and multi-nationals with vested interests in retaining aspects of the UK’s membership should not be allowed to trump the democratic will of the British people.

While I understand your intention to put your views before politics (which we disagree with), the CBI should be working to encourage everyone to see the benefits of the future outside the EU which the majority of country voted for. We need a clean Brexit to realise this.

We are not the CBI’s largest member but this should not make our voice any less important.

Kind Regards,

Simon Boyd

Managing Director, REIDsteel and member of the CBI Manufacturing Council