Labour Movement for Europe has called on the Labour Party to “take back control of Brexit” as the Government used being out of the European Union to justify uncapping bankers bonuses. Ahead of the Labour conference, the LME is calling on Labour to support three immediate actions to reclaim the relationship between the UK and the EU for the benefit of British businesses and consumers.
Chair of the LME Stella Creasy said:
"Liz Truss is using Brexit as an excuse to give bankers a pay rise, whilst a third of British exports to Europe have stopped due to red tape. Labour led the way calling for common food standards to address the problems in Northern Ireland- now we need to show how we can save British trade and work with Europe to benefit our national interest'
She set out how the Labour Party can do this:
‘Rules of Origin requirements are crippling British manufacturing - that's why the LME is calling for Labour to champion returning to the Pan European Mediterranean Convention to cut the red tape strangling small businesses. We also back returning to the North Seas Energy Cooperation partnership to help lower energy costs and avoid dangerous fracking. Finally we should honour the pledge Boris Johnson broke to parliament to form a European security partnership to help fight cross-border crime and stand up to Putin."
"With a recession looming and a cost of living crisis, Britain can’t afford to indulge brexiteer fantasies or for lengthy negotiations to sort these problems out. None of these measures requires another referendum to rejoin the EU, the single market or the customs union. Introducing these measures we could quickly help those struggling with the impact of Brexit. What is needed is the political will."
In the coming months, the LME will be campaigning for Labour to back further measures to help rebuild the relationship between the UK and the EU covering protecting workers rights, visas and research investment.
- The Rules of origin determine where goods are ‘from’ for the purposes of tariffs. For British manufacturing these have caused substantial red tape since Brexit, as they have to demonstrate the origin of every component of their products. By signing up to the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Convention on rules of origin, the UK would enter a bloc which includes the EU and other nations, such as Turkey, Morocco, Israel and Palestine. This would have major benefits for manufacturers in the UK, ensuring smoother trade with the EU and ensuring organisations such as potteries in Stoke and Nissan in Sunderland remain competitive.
- As an alternative to an unpopular and potentially dangerous return to fracking, the UK could sign-up to work with the North Seas Energy Cooperation to fasttrack the development of renewable energy sources. Under Article 321 of the TCA, the UK and EU have obligations ‘in relation to offshore grid development and the large renewable energy potential of the North Seas region.” This has not yet happened, but the North Seas Energy Cooperation is a group of states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and non-EU member Norway) committed to a collective investment in renewables helping reduce their costs and speed up production.
- In the Political Declaration attached to the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU and the UK committed to establish a "Security Partnership" to work together on "terrorism, cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns, hybrid threats, the erosion of the rules-based international order and the resurgence of state-based threats". It set up structured consultation, enabled the UK to attend some EU Ministerial meetings, to coordinate on sanctions, share intelligence and work jointly on security issues. Yet the TCA contained no such provisions, and no such formal joint working has happened to date despite the war in Ukraine.
- OECD figures show since 2016, the UK economy has grown at half the rate (per capita) of the EU, compared to pre-pandemic growth which broadly tracked the growth of the EU. The World Bank data shows UK exports have grown slower than competitor countries – German exports were up 9.9% last year, French exports 9.3%, Italian exports 13.3%, and the Netherlands by 6.6% . By contrast, UK exports fell by 1.3%. Analysis of HMRC data shows that the number of businesses exporting to the EU was down from 27,321 to 18,357 – a loss of trade for 8,964 businesses. Industry experts have suggested this is largely due to an increase in red tape which means it is no longer profitable for them to do so. The IMF and OECD have both predicted significantly lower growth for the UK than competitors over the next year, with the OECD predicting no growth in the UK, compared to 1.6% in the Eurozone.
- The Labour Movement for Europe is Labour’s only Affiliated Socialist Society dedicated to building strong working links with our European neighbours. Whether seeking to trade, protect the security of our people, tackle climate change or achieve a more equal and free democratic society, the LME promotes active collaboration with our European counterparts and supports all those who wish to see our nation’s future in Europe secured and will campaign and collaborate to achieve that objective. It is the second largest socialist society in the Labour movement, with a third of all new candidates for Labour selected to stand at the next election members.