JCB, the huge privately-held UK construction company, has left the influential business lobby group CBI for allegedly being too anti-Brexit.
A JCB spokesperson confirmed to the BBC and Sky News that the construction company has parted ways with the CBI, which has a membership of around 250,000 businesses across Britain. However, the spokesperson did not give further details as to why JCB has left the group.
A CBI spokesperson also told Sky News: “It’s always a shame to see any member leave the CBI, but we recognise that businesses have competing priorities and we respect that.”
Sources told Sky News that the move was to do with the CBI’s opposition to Britain leaving the European Union.
The CBI, which lobbies on behalf of its quarter of a million members, made it clear throughout the EU referendum campaign that it was against Britain splitting from the 28-nation bloc.
In March this year, the director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, saidthat “leaving the EU would cause a serious shock to the UK economy, with a potential cost to UK GDP of £100 billion and 950,000 jobs by 2020 and negative echoes that could last many years after that.” She made her comments in a lecture at the London Business School, citing a PwC analysis.
Britain’s government predicts that a “Hard Brexit” — Britain leaving the EU without access to the Single Market — will cost the UK £66 billion a year in lost tax revenues alone.
However, JCB’s chairman Lord Bamford also made it very clear during the campaign process that he was a supporter of Brexit.
Lord Bamford donated £100,000 to the official pro-Brexit group “Vote Leave,” and wrote to the entire JCB workforce, around 6,500 people, urging them to not fear a Brexit.
“We are the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world. We could exist on our own, peacefully and sensibly,” said Lord Bamford. “The UK could negotiate as our own country rather than being one of 28 nations in Brussels as we are today.”
In response to whether Britain would be better off if the UK left the EU, he added:”I think it would be, because I really don’t think it would make a blind bit of difference to trade with Europe. There has been far too much scaremongering about things like jobs. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to stop trade. I don’t think we or Brussels will put up trade barriers.”