Exclusive: 99.3% of all UK businesses do NOT export to the EU

Brexit Facts4EU.Org reveals what the Establishment’s Remainers don’t want you to know

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2020

Project Fear’s continuing doom-and-gloom about a ‘no deal’ Brexit is debunked

Facts4EU.Org has researched and analysed the official HMRC and Government data on all the businesses in the UK, to see just how many of these businesses will be affected if the EU continues to fail to negotiate reasonably and the UK then exits the EU on 31 December on WTO terms.

Many readers – including those who voted Remain in 2016 - may find the following information to be shocking.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

From official Government and HMRC figures for 2019

  • 99.3% of all UK businesses do NOT export goods to the EU
  • Even after excluding sole traders, the picture is similar
  • 97.2% of the UK’s 1.4 million employers do NOT export goods to the EU
  • Just 39,000 UK employers export goods to the EU
  • That’s only 2.8% of all employers – and yet they’re dominating the EU trade deal debate
  • More than 5 million UK businesses neither import from, nor export to, the EU

The percentage of all UK businesses exporting goods to the EU

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

The percentage of all UK employers (excluding sole traders) exporting goods to the EU

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

The Establishment’s claims are wrong – and misleading

For years the Establishment - including the big businesses represented by the CBI and their political supporters - have sought to frame the debate about Brexit on what they claim would be the ‘cliff edge’ of an exit by the UK from the EU on ‘WTO terms’. This type of exit is what Prime Minister Boris Johnson now refers to as leaving on “Australian terms”.

Almost all of the business information presented to the public by the BBC and other broadcasters has revolved around claims that “nearly 50% of UK exports go to the EU”. Aside from the fact that this claim is false, (the true figure is 43% according to the House of Commons Library in July 2020), the public has been given the impression that half of our business is in peril from a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

This is not the case, as can be seen from the official figures we have uncovered.

This is about actual UK businesses and the real people working in them

Our investigation shows that only a tiny number of the UK’s businesses (39,000 out of a total of 5.9 million) actually sell goods to the EU27. Even stripping out all sole traders from the total number of UK businesses, this still leaves 1,409,950 employers. 39,000 is a very small proportion (2.8%) of these.

Yes, it’s true that the UK businesses selling goods to the EU tend to be larger, and therefore tend to employ more people per business, and to export in higher volumes. Nevertheless, they are relatively small in number and will most certainly have the resources to adapt quickly to a new trading environment. It remains the case that the vast majority of UK businesses will be unaffected by any new EU export arrangements.

There are only 19,800 businesses in the UK employing 100 people or more. This leaves 5,848,000 businesses who employ (or self-employ) the rest of us.

So how much is the UK’s goods export business to the EU worth?

As stated above, Remainers have always sought to frame the Brexit debate around business numbers, which is one of the reasons they lost the UK’s EU Referendum of 2016.

Despite the fact that the Remain side continually cited export numbers, the reality is that the UK is the country which did worst out of all EU countries when it came to the Single Market and Customs Union. (This is according to the EU Commission itself – see our report here.)

In May this year (2020) we published our research showing that the UK’s goods exports to the EU represent only 7.7% of the UK’s total economy.

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge


Above we have tried to put the business side of UK PLC into perspective for readers. When the CBI - which represents big business and which campaigned hard for Remain - speaks, the BBC jumps. Rarely did we hear anything from the BBC about the millions of small businesses which make up the backbone of the UK's economy.

In late summer 2018 we were the first Brexit organisation to back a new business group, The Alliance of British Entrepreneurs, representing the interests of businesses with billions of pounds of turnover and who backed Leave. Founded by a brilliant young business lawyer named Tom Bohills, they successfully campaigned for the Brexit business voice to be heard. Nevertheless it has always been an uphill battle to get the pro-Brexit business voice heard when the BBC, Sky News and others seem to be so obsessed with pro-Remain voices.

The Government must stand firm and resolute

In the coming days and weeks we believe that the UK Government will attempt to strike some form of compromise deal with the European Union.

Instead we urge them to do three things immediately:

  1. Repudiate the Withdrawal Treaty (including the Northern Ireland Protocol) on the grounds that the EU has acted in bad faith during the entirety of the negotiations, and
  2. Stand firm and refuse to compromise on any trade deal involving a watering down of the UK’s sovereignty and independence of action, and
  3. Start communicating effectively to the British public and to the rest of the world

To all MPs who read our work, we stand ready to assist in any way for the achievement of the above objectives.

Finally, where is the BBC on the information we have provided above? These are raw, basic facts. As the most prolific researcher and publisher of Brexit facts for almost five years, we urge any BBC journalist to contact us if they would like to report a more balanced view of the background to the UK-EU trade negotiations.

As we won’t be holding our breath, perhaps readers might like to consider supporting us with a donation today? Quick, secure, and confidential donation links are below this article. We desperately need your help to continue the fight for a free, independent, and sovereign United Kingdom on 01 Jan 2021.

[ Sources: HMRC | BEIS (UK Dept for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Tues 06 Oct 2020

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