Non EU businesses ‘envy single market access’ - CBI

CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn
CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn

Business groups from countries cited by the Leave campaign as potential future models have made it clear that maintaining full access to the EU single market is in the best interests of the UK, according to a report.

The Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) said business federations representing small, medium and large firms from Albania, Norway, Switzerland and Canada have outlined the “serious shortcomings” for their firms from the alternative relationships they have with the EU.

The CBI warned that in the event of a vote to leave the EU, a lower level of access to the single market of 500 million people will lead to significant damage to the UK’s economy.

Director general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “The Leave campaign has said we should be like Switzerland, Norway, Canada or even perhaps Albania, but all these countries say they’d rather be like the UK.

“They say that their models have big drawbacks, and that we already have the best deal.

“The single market is one of the UK’s great success stories - we led from the front in its development - and now the Leave campaign is telling us to abandon it.

“Access to the single market allows ambitious firms to buy and sell easily in 27 other countries and smaller firms to be part of supply chains that span the Continent, creating jobs here at home and making the UK more prosperous.

“The Leave campaign admit that their preferred choice means withdrawing British firms’ access to the EU single market of 500 million people. This will put British businesses out in the cold and hit jobs.”