Paul Sykes, Yorkshire’s multimillionaire, has a view on EU membership diametrically opposed to that of most businesses in Britain. He doesn’t hesitate to proclaim that British businesses hate the EU, but this is not true:
- Confederation of British Industry supports EU membership (80% of companies want us to stay in)
- Federation of Small Businesses supports EU membership
- British Chambers of Commerce members support EU membership
- UK manufacturers’ organisation supports EU membership
- Institute of Directors members support EU membership
- City of London financiers support EU membership
- Richard Branson supports EU membership
- Centre for European Reform says exit would pose ‘grave threat’
Yet somehow it doesn’t surprise me that the biggest donor to UKIP, financing their despicable billboards to the tune of some £1.5m so far, is a property developer. Property developers don’t export, so they’re not so interested in the access to the world’s largest single market which other businesspeople value so much. Some of them also have a hostile view about regulation, seeing rules that prevent building in the green belt or about the energy efficiency of buildings or on health and safety of the workforce, as troublesome impediments.
And of course, they see EU regulation as a soft target, because instead of trying to challenge a regulation on its merits, they can simply wave their hands and complain about “EU interference”.