UKIP Manifesto: dangerous for our economy

  • The UKIP party manifesto is dangerous for the UK economy and national security.
  • UKIP advocate walking away from the Brexit negotiations, which will severely damage UK businesses, jobs and growth. 
  • UKIP embrace the WTO cliff edge scenario, which would lead to huge economic turbulence.  
  • The party’s manifesto stance of seeking new global trade deals outside of the customs union will give the UK less preferential access not only to the EU, which accounts for 44% of UK exports and 56% of UK imports, but would also harm the UK’s trade relations with non-EU countries through which the UK has preferential trading treatment such as Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Chile and South Korea, through its EU membership.
  • The party’s manifesto stance on hitting zero net migration over the next five years will exacerbate skills shortages and lead to a public health crisis as the NHS relies on migrant staff.  
  • The UKIP manifesto will make the country less secure by taking the UK out of the European Arrest Warrant – critical for helping keep this country safe.   

Background

  • Hard Brexit: UKIP is openly advocating deep damage to the United Kingdom’s economy by walking away from our closest economic partners and allies without any kind of deal. As highlighted by the Centre for European Reform  this morning, this would have dire economic consequences for the UK and seriously call in to question the UK’s role as a serious global actor, which is critical if the post-Brexit priority for the UK is to strike new trade deals. Moreover, UKIP seems to suggest that the EU would want to reach a swift trade deal with the UK, but the opposite is more likely true, where trade with the EU accounts for 13% of total UK GDP, compared with UK trade for the EU27 accounting for only 3-4% of its GDP.  

“UKIP believes the UK should have already left the EU, and that following the Article 50 process will lead us to make too many concessions to Brussels…There is no legal or moral obligation to use Article 50; we have the legal right to withdraw from the EU unilaterally….”

“Naturally, we should like to agree a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, and continue to trade on the same basis as at present. As the UK is the EU’s largest single export market, the EU should want to reach a swift and sensible trade deal with us. However, if the EU continues to make unreasonable demands in return for even talking about free trade, then we must be prepared to walk away.” 

  • UKIP’s Brexit tests: UKIP lays out Brexit tests which are uncompromising and risk making the UK weaker and worse off. The party’s stance on the European Court of Justice makes security co-operation – of such vital importance for this country – much harder. Its stance on trade would see the UK outside of the customs union, effecting British exports and harming economic growth. UKIP’s position on UK financial obligations to the EU would risk the UK’s international trust-worthiness, at a time when the UK is supposed to be reaching out to new international partners. 

“THE LEGAL TEST:…Britain must be completely free from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and we must be free, if we wish, to relinquish our membership of the European Court of Human Rights… THE TRADE TEST: The UK must retake its seat on the World Trade Organisation and resume its sovereign right to sign trade agreements with other entities or supra-national bodies. We must have full rights to set our own tariff and non-tariff barriers consistent with WTO rules, and we must have left both the EU single market and the customs union… THE MONEY TEST:  We must not pay any ‘divorce’ payment to the EU, nor contribute to the EU budget. We must have been paid our share of financial assets from entities such as the European Investment Bank, in which some £9 billion of UK money is vested…” 

  • Single market & customs union: UKIP is flatly wrong on the UK’s membership of the single market, where the American Chamber of Commerce in the EU  (the United States being a country with whom UKIP want greater ties) having yesterday shown that it has boosted both UK growth and UK households take-home. Moreover, being outside of the customs union will lead to the UK losing preferential trade access to all the countries with whom the EU has preferential trade deals, including South Korea, Canada, Switzerland and Norway. It will also harm the UK, where 44% of UK exports go to the EU and 53% of its imports come from the EU. There is no other part of the world with which the UK has such an integrated trade relationship.

“For decades our EU membership has been a factor in our diluted economic growth, flat-lining wages, and diminishing influence on the world stage.”

“Countries are already queuing up to make trade deals with Britain”

  • WTO cliff edge: UKIP openly embraces the idea of a WTO cliff-edge scenario, which would do untold damage to the UK economy, levying tariffs on UK exports to the EU, undermining UK competitiveness and leading to a black hole in public finances. This is the worst=case scenario for the UK economy, showing how dangerous a vote for UKIP would be for working people. 

“Not having an FTA with the EU will not prevent our trading with EU businesses, so talk of a ‘cliff edge’ is pure hyperbole. Neither could we ‘crash out’ of the EU, because trade is not going to stop, whatever happens…Trading on WTO terms will never be a ‘punishment’ option, but may be an economically sound choice.” 

  • Immigration: UKIP’s migration policy will have dire consequences for the UK and exacerbate skills shortages, already becoming prevalent since the Brexit vote in June last year. Moreover, in the case of the NHS, it will lead  to a public health nightmare, where the NHS is one of the public services most reliant on the migrant labour force. The UK has benefited from migration and aiming for zero-net migration will do untold damage to the UK economy and its standing in the world. The party’s stance on migrants and their access healthcare will lead to top talent quickly looking to leave the UK for countries with more humane policies.     

“UKIP will establish a Migration Control Commission and set a target to reduce net migration to zero, over a five-year period. This means approximately halving gross immigration for a five-year period. This will still allow us to bring in the key skills we need, while giving a breathing space to public services under immense pressure.” 

“All new migrants to Britain will be expected to make tax and national insurance contributions for at least five consecutive years before they become eligible to claim UK benefits, or access non-urgent NHS services,”

“EU nationals who entered the UK after 29th March 2017 will not have the automatic right to remain and when we leave the EU will lose access to all benefits, including non-urgent healthcare” 

  • Security: By opting out of the European Arrest Warrant, UKIP’s policies will make the UK less secure, where the UK will lose the right to pursue criminals who have committed crimes in the UK and have moved to the EU. This is not within the UK’s national interests. Although the party also states that it would want to have close security ties with the EU, it seems bizarre that it would therefore seek to leave an instrument like the European Arrest Warrant.

“UKIP will opt out of the European Arrest Warrant.”

“However, we will of course continue our close cooperation with our European partners on matters of defence and security once we have left the EU.” 

  • Post-Brexit economy: UKIP would clearly like to ignite a bonfire of regulations, turning the UK into low regulation economy, which would threaten workers’ rights and environmental standards.

“Post-Brexit, UKIP’s aim is to establish the UK on the world market as a low tax, low regulation economy.”