Loss of UK jobs Nov02

UK companies, including farmers, continue to suffer from hidden state subsidies on the continent that undermine our competitiveness. The UK's high compliance of EU regulations and strict vigilance by government inspectors precipitates higher costs for our businesses.

KLM UK Engineering at Norwich Airport is a classic example of a company with high technical expertise in aviation maintenance. It employs a highly skilled labour force and offers an excellent service that ensures reliability and guaranteed cover for insurance.

The Portuguese Government, keen to help create employment for its citizens, has offered a 50m (30m) soft loan for training to a Portuguese engineering company that will now compete directly with the Norwich based firm. Portuguese wages, taxes, housing, food and transport costs are lower than in the UK. This huge subsidy of 30m gives additional advantage to the Portuguese company. This is not a level playing field, as our government can offer no such benefit to KLM Engineering Services in Norwich.

How can our people preserve their jobs and protect and enhance their livelihood if we allow EU Member States to break rules of an open competitive single market that is free from state subsidy? Too many jobs are lost in the UK and too much of our EU contribution is used to finance and subsidise workers in low-wage EU Member States and accession countries waiting to join an enlarged EU.

We must not allow such job losses and closures of our businesses. We must withhold the cost of compliance from our EU contribution, so that we can equally support our UK jobs and businesses.