Letters to the editor

Outside Europe

[Re: Would leaving the EU be a positive move for business in Britain?, Friday]
Roland Rudd’s suggestion that we would not have access to European markets if we left the EU, if true, belies the true nature of the entity. There is no suggestion from Eurosceptics that Britain would not be willing to import from Europe, so why is there a suggestion from a Europhile that Europe would not be willing to accept UK exports? Is the EU really a mercantilist zone that excludes the rest of the world from competition? If so, the sooner we are out the better. In actual fact, trade with Europe is nothing like as important as internal trade within the UK, or the UK’s trade with the rest of the world.

Sir James Pickthorn

In this often rhetorical debate, we need to consider a few facts. Britain has a trade deficit of over £50bn a year with other EU countries. The UK is one of their largest export markets. The single market is significantly more developed in goods (in which we have a trade deficit) than in services (in which we have a large surplus). Supply chains in most manufactured goods are now truly international (is Airbus really going to stop putting wings on its planes?). Given all this, it’s clearly more in the material interests of EU nations to maintain a free trade relationship with us than the other way around. There’s a trivally small probability that the EU would ever shut us out their market.

Robin Peters



Before we get too despondent about Christmas retail sales, 2012 still showed strongest retail volume growth since 2007.

If every council spent the same as Westminster on combating obesity and smoking, it would cost £8bn a year.

IMF verdict on Greece: rich and self- employed avoid taxes on an astonishing scale. Bloated state sectors are largely untouched.

Norway’s fisheries project 600 per cent growth by 2050. Norway is not disadvantaged by having no EU commissioner.