British EU exit wouldn’t ‘make a difference’

One of the titans of British industry has dismissed fears over the UK’s possible EU exit with its chief executive describing claims of potential jobs losses as scaremongering.

JCB chief Graeme MacDonald said a British exit would not make “one blind bit of difference to trade with Europe” given the importance of the UK market.

Mr MacDonald said the level of bureaucracy associated with doing business in European markets is prohibitive and claimed that trade would not be impeded by British or European authorities if the UK was to leave the EU.

“There has been far too much scaremongering about things like jobs. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to stop trade. I don’t think we or Brussels will put up trade barriers,” Mr MacDonald said in an interview with The Guardian.

“What is needed is a lot less red tape and bureaucracy. Some of it is costly for us and quite frankly ridiculous. Whether that means renegotiating or exiting, I don’t think it can carry on as it is. It’s a burden on our business and it’s easier selling to north America than to Europe sometimes.”

British prime minister David Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on the UK’s EU membership by 2017 with fears of an exit becoming more tangible following the Conservatives recent general election win.

JCB has strong links to the Conservatives with the company’s billionaire owners, the Bamford family, donating more than €3.5m to the party in the last five years.

The views of JCB’s senior management put the world’s third largest construction equipment manufacturer at odds with other leading businesspeople both in Britain and Ireland. A report by ESRI researcher Edgar Morgenroth estimated up to €4bn could be wiped off the value of Irish exports should Britain vote to go it alone.

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