Manufacturers clash over Brexit

Posted on 24 Nov 2015 by Victoria Fitzgerald

A dispute broke out in Portcullis House last week, as campaigners discussed the impact Brexit would have on SME manufacturers.

The debate, chaired by the all-party parliamentary group (APMG), saw those in favour and against clash over an exit’s affect on trade and business regulations.

EEF’s Terry Scuoler, remarked that the majority of the organisation’s members were keen to remain in the EU as it is an important export destination.

Scuoler said: “90% of my member companies export to the EU and they wish to continue to do so. It’s by far our biggest market and it is a free market of 500 million people.

“And, if we were to succeed to make it a free market for services I think opportunities would be even greater.”

Cargo Ship Docks Crane Export
Some manufacturers are concerned about an exit from the EU’s impact on European trade.

CEO of the Vote Leave campaign, Matthew Elliot argued that EEF’s membership mostly represented larger manufacturing firms and therefore didn’t consider Brexit’s consequences on smaller companies.

Elliot said: “When you look at how businesses are divided. Corporate businesses tend to be more pro-EU, perhaps more resistant to change, more focused towards the export side of the economy.

“But many private businesses who support Business for Britain tend to take a longer term view and aren’t held back by shareholders who want a return that quarter,” he said.

A possible exit from the EU could have major consequences on free trade, regulation and immigration.