Monday, 2 July 2018

The Brexiteers’ Business Britain

Do you remember Boris Johnson’s promise of an extra £350m a week for the NHS if we leave the EU? Yes, that promise posted all over the side of a red double-decker bus.
Well, having tried running the NHS in to the ground, creating such a public backlash that Mrs May has had to do a U-turn and promised to increase NHS funding by about £350m a week, you would have thought that the Brexiteers would have been celebrating their promise coming true, wouldn’t you?
Except, no. We learn that the £350 million is to be funded half by taxes and half by borrowing. What about the Brexit bonus, you ask. Well, it’s now been confirmed that even if the UK gets everything it has been demanding – fat chance! – there won’t be any Brexit bonus for at least a decade.
Then, do you remember the Brexiteers claims that there would be scores of countries queueing up to do new trade deals with the UK after we quit the EU at enormous benefit to British business and jobs in Britain?
But now we know that there aren’t scores of countries queueing up to do deals. Actually, there are a few countries who are prepared to do deals…but only if Britain concedes to concessions which fly in the face of other promises (for example, amongst other things, India says that it wants a massive increase in UK visas for its citizens) or concessions with massive implications for the UK economy (for example, New Zealand wants open access for its lamb and dairy products, which would in one stroke destroy Welsh agriculture).
And what does British business think about the prospects? Not much.
Investment in British car factories fell steadily after 2016 and by nearly 50% in the past six months. When Airbus said it was now actively considering moving airplane wing production out of the UK and on to mainland EU, Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative Health Secretary, said the government should ignore the concerns, and Boris Johnson said “Fxxx business.” How asinine can you get? Remember that Airbus employs 14,000 workers directly and supports another 110,000 in other businesses and generates £1.7bn in tax each year.
And do you remember the Brexiteers’ promises of cutting business regulation and bureaucracy? They would never answer the direct question about which regulations and which bureaucracy, but now an investigation and report from Nottingham University tells us precisely what they meant.
It is exampled in that burgeoning new industry, seemingly cropping up on every vacant space in the country. Mrs Thatcher had us all taking in each other’s washing to grow the economy. The Brexiteers have found the solution to economic growth and Britain’s business future in…car washes.
The investigators discovered that there are up to 20,000 hand car washes, most unregulated. A two-year study found not one car wash paying the national minimum wage. Tax evasion by hand car washes is costing the Treasury between £500 million and £1 billion a year. Some staff have their passports seized while others are effectively in modern slavery.
Welcome to the Brexiteers’ Britain.