LETTER: Woolly data

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From Mr Paul Brenton

Sir: If Adam Savill (letter, 14 January) is keen to eliminate woolly thinking from the debate concerning the UK's relationship with the European Union, he should take more care when presenting relevant data.

Official sources show that less than half of UK exports are sold in non- EU countries, not the 60 per cent that Mr Savill reports. For overseas investment, Mr Savill believes that 75 per cent goes outside of the EU. Investment figures vary greatly from year to year but over the five years prior to 1994, 56 per cent of overseas investment by UK companies went outside of the EU.

Lack of care with the figures leads to sloppy and possibly erroneous policy conclusions. For international trade it is clear that distance matters. Geography cannot be changed, whether you are for or against strong links with the European Union.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Brenton

Research Fellow

Centre for European Policy



15 January