As reported in the Hull Daily Mail:
EU exit ‘could lead to economic renaissance’
Leaving the European Union could lead to an economic renaissance in East Yorkshire, Eurosceptic politician David Davis has said.
The Conservatives have pledged to hold a referendum on the issue if they win the general election.
Mr Davis, Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden, would like that vote to be held in 2016 – a year earlier than planned at present.
He admitted large companies would have concerns but said it was a “false worry”.
He said: “If we were outside the EU, we would be the biggest single trading partner by far, bigger than America, almost twice as big as China.
“A vast amount of goods come from Europe to us and that gives us fantastic negotiating leverage.”
Mr Davis claimed leaving could also boost the country’s ability to trade with the rest of the world, opening up “access to other markets”.
Yorkshire draws heavily on EU funding, with millions from the European Regional Development Fund being used to support new business park developments and company expansion.
But Mr Davis said the UK is a net contributor, spending £10bn more in the union than it used.
He said: “Those grant systems would have to be replaced by a national support system.
“If we strike Europe out of that, it means you would get more of the grant from central government and I would argue that’s more efficient.
“It would almost automatically be replaced from domestic spending in most cases.”
As a port city, Hull has strong links with Europe.
Siemens, which is moving into a £310m offshore wind turbine facility in Alexandra Dock, has voiced fears about what a vote to leave would mean.
Hull project director Finbarr Dowling said: “We are very much part of that European family and we want to continue like that.
“When I look out, all to the east is Europe, so we want to be able to export into Europe and we have a better chance of doing that if we are in the union.”
But Mr Davis dismissed that argument as “claptrap”.
He said: “Siemens are a German company and of course they don’t want us to leave.
“It tells you that the biggest disadvantage in our leaving is not to us, but to them.
“It’s a nonsensical argument, but it’s quite common among big businessmen – they don’t understand politics and they have a very slim grasp of the dynamics of international economics, let alone the politics.”
If the Conservatives won the election, Mr Davis said, he would be likely to campaign against staying in the EU.
He said: “If I bet my salary today, I would bet on me arguing to be out.
“There are perfectly good arguments for staying, but the most likely future is we will be out of the EU and there will be an economic renaissance if we do it properly.”