Exports to European Union countries are worth £211 bn to the British economy and help support 4.2m UK jobs, according to analysis by an economic think tank.
The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) study of figures for 2011, the most recent full set of data available, shows that the EU’s demand for goods and services from Britain has steadily increased since a similar piece of work was carried out in 1997.
The report, for the British Influence group which campaigns for the UK to remain in a reformed EU, found that income from exports to other member states was worth £3,500 per head of the population in 2011. Within the 4.2 million jobs, an estimated 3.1 million were directly supported by exports to the European Union in 2011 and 1.1 million jobs were indirectly supported, for example through spending income earned from exporting. The analysis found that the number of jobs associated with demand from the EU has increased from 3.7 million to 4.2 million over the period 1997-2011.
This CEBR research does not suggest that the estimated jobs would be lost if the UK were to cut ties with Brussels and it does not include an analysis of net trade, taking into account imports from the EU. It also indicates that although the EU’s demand for British goods and services from the UK has steadily increased since 1997 “as a share, EU demand has decreased as growth in demand from emerging markets has outpaced it. But in terms of the absolute volume of goods, the numbers have steadily increased and the EU remains the UK’s single biggest trading partner by a wide margin,” the report said.
The study also identified regional variations in the distribution of EU-associated jobs, from London’s growth of 27% to West Midlands’ fall of 6%. Douglas McWilliams, executive chairman of CEBR, said: “This report demonstrates the levels of UK economic activity that are associated with demand from the European Union.
“CEBR estimates this at 4.2m jobs, or £211bn in national income terms. Across the economy, the manufacturing sector has most jobs linked to demand from exports to the EU.’’