Joining the EU actually made it more difficult to trade with non EU countries, which was where 79% of our exports went to before we joined the EU.
A few years ago the London School of Economics produced a research study on how Britain joining the EU had affected ports and the location of manufacturing industry in Britain. This showed that one of the major impacts of the UK joining the EU was a decline in port trade and manufacturing industry in areas like Waveney as businesses either closed or moved to the south east, where it was easier for them to export to the EU.
Lowestoft was particularly badly hit by joining the EU as in many respects it destroyed our fishing industry. With it went lots jobs in other businesses that were related to it such as food processing. Although we were hit by other problems as well, such as the world wide decline in ship building due to the arrival of cheap air travel, the EU has cost hundreds and possibly thousands of jobs that were linked in one way or another to the port of Lowestoft.
British ports like Lowestoft are now facing yet another threat to their future from the EU. They are desperately fighting to stop the EU’s proposed ‘Port Services Regulation’. This could quite literally kill off a number of UK ports in the next few years, while letting other European ones survive. This proposed EU law would stop ports earning enough money from port fees to pay for investment in their infrastructure. That wouldn’t be a problem in ports like Hamburg in Germany that Lowestoft competes with – including for offshore wind operations – as they are government owned and run, so the German government will pay for whatever they need. But it could slowly kill off British ports like Lowestoft which are run by private companies such as Associated British Ports.
The Port of Lowestoft will be able to compete with other North Sea ports on much fairer terms if we leave the EU.
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