CONSERVATIVE MP David Davis has said the government should stay out of making business policy as it overcomplicates the issues.
Commenting on the launch of a report from Business for Britain, which proposes an opt-out scheme for small firms on EU regulation, the former Foreign Office minister said he would vote to leave the EU tomorrow because of the negative impact on British business, unless something is done to make conditions more favourable.
The report, launched today and backed by business leaders including Peter Cruddas, details “The British Option”, a plan to exempt companies that do not trade with Europe from a number of EU regulations.
The authors propose that the money saved by allowing firms to opt out be reinvested in global trade missions.
“Regulation is a really serious burden for small companies,” Davis said, adding that big businesses have the money to employ consultants to help them interpret EU rules but smaller firms don’t.
Asked if he thought the government should stay out of making business policy Davis answered, “Ideally, yes,” explaining that businesses should be free to make decisions about which markets they trade with, without being restricted by political treaties.
Business secretary Vince Cable said that thousands of UK jobs depend on trade with the EU: “We should be supporting all British businesses to take advantage of the single market, not holding them back by shutting the door on the biggest trading block in the world.”
Business for New Europe, a group of bosses who are in favour of ties with the continent, said the opt-out plan was “unworkable, bureaucratic and would create a disincentive for companies to export”.
But the report, on a sensitive issue for the Conservative party, has garnered support from other Tory backbenchers. Dominic Raab called the plan “a win-win proposal,” adding: “The government should look closely at the idea.”