One of the greatest ‘Brexit bonuses’ was the freedom that leaving the EU gave us from their restrictive and discriminatory rules on state aids. Intelligently-targeted state funding is vital to grow our manufacturing industry. The EU Commission was biased against the UK when it came to state aids – that’s why JLR has a huge car factory in Slovakia (which was allowed by the EU to offer subsidies to the company) and not the UK (which was forbidden from offering matching subsidies). Or look at Germany: why do they have such a successful manufacturing sector? Because of the funding provided by the state-owned KfW bank – which is actually disguised state funding. The KfW (which stands for “Credit Institute for Reconstruction”) is the world’s largest national development bank. It funnels state aid into German companies to help them become world leaders. And ironically it was created in 1948 as part of the post-war Marshall Plan.
Some people tritely claim that ‘Britain won the war but Germany won the peace’! The ultimate irony is that the reason Germany is allowed to get away with having the advantage of KfW state aids is that this bank existed before the EU was formed, and therefore has been allowed to continue. Nobody else could set up an equivalent bank in the EU now. No wonder Nicholas Ridley – then Secretary of State for Industry – said in 1990 that EU policy was “all a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe”. We often hear about how fabulous the German “Mittelstand” is (their small and medium-sized manufacturing companies). And yes, this is the backbone of the German economy – but it probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the KfW.
Until not so long ago, protecting and promoting our domestic companies was the normal and obvious thing to do. Right up to the early 1970s, for instance, we had a special government section – the Offshore Supplies Office – dedicated to increasing British companies’ share of North Sea oil and gas platforms and pipelines. But when Britain joined the EU (or EEC, as it was then) they ordered us to stop this, in order to help other European companies. So if state aid to industry is so important, and if leaving the EU means that this is now possible here again, why doesn’t the government actually engage in this? Because they are dogmatic free-marketeers and have – treacherously – promised the EU in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that they won’t do so as this would be ‘unfair’ to EU businesses. As the EU has never, ever, been ‘fair’ to the UK, why the hell should we worry about being ‘fair’ to them?
If we can have an economic advantage we should take it – and that means supporting British companies to invest, to grow, and to be successful. We should also protect British companies from being taken over by their foreign rivals (see our previous article here: https://britishdems.co.uk/2022/09/20/sold-down-the-river/). And we should fund British science and innovation much more too. We need a patriotic government that is willing to invest in British companies, in order to create British ‘champions’ that can compete globally. That is at the heart of a patriotic business strategy. Not surprisingly, all we get from the Tory traitors is neglect and betrayal. Even the Labour Party has woken up to this and has promised that, if they were in government, the three Royal Navy Support vessels that are currently being tendered would be built in the UK. The government has merely promised that they will be ‘assembled’ here – an utterly worthless activity that would mean a loss of jobs, technology and maritime capability. The idea that Britain should buy its ships from overseas would have Nelson turning in his grave.
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