Ben Chu: Europe has been good for our car makers
Outlook Speaking of economic optimism, there were some more decent new car sales figures yesterday. Registrations in the first half of the year were up 10 per cent on the first six months of 2012, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Perhaps surprisingly, given our traumatic history with British Leyland in the 1970s, car construction is a bright spot in our otherwise lacklustre manufacturing sector. But the really important point about our car industry is that we export most of the motors we make, and also import a hell of a lot that are made elsewhere too. The siren cry of those who want the UK to depart the European Union is: "They sell more to us than we do to them." The logic is that it would be in the rest of Europe's interests to agree a free trade deal with us because their exporters would suffer more than ours if they didn't.
But beware. We used to have a trade deficit in the car sector. However, that changed in the first quarter of this year. Over the first three months of 2013 the UK exported £6.2bn worth of cars and imported £5.8bn. And bear in mind that some 65 per cent of the UK's car exports go to Europe.
Let those who are blasé about the UK's future access to the single market explain how the threat of a pull-out from the European Union would be good news for our motor manufacturers.
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Bubonic plague-carrying fleas found on New York City rats
London property boom built on dirty money
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...
£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...