No, the EU does not fund companies to move jobs out of the UK

A handy refutation to that cut-and-paste list that is doing the rounds. I’ve given sources where I can, but for some of these it’s just such a blatant lie that there’s no source possible. If you can provide any more information than I have here, please comment!

Cadbury moved factory to Poland 2011 with EU grant.

Cadbury was bought by Kraft. Kraft shafted Cadbury. The EU had nothing to do with it.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/cadbury-closes-british-factory-to-move-101746

Jaguar Land Rover has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia with EU grant, owned by Tata, the same company who have trashed our steel works and emptied the workers pension funds.

Yes, Jaguar Land Rover built a new factory in Slovakia. No it was not with an EU grant. And Tata is Indian so what’s that got to do with it?
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/11/jaguar-land-rover-factory-slovakia-uk-jobs-union

Peugeot closed its Ryton (was Rootes Group) plant and moved production to Slovakia with EU grant.

Peugeot did move production to Slovakia, but again without an EU grant. There was an investigation as to whether Slovakia improperly gave EU money to Peugeot, but nothing seems to have come of it.
http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/local-news/subsidise-peugeot-jobs-axe-3983259

Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with EU grant.

This is the only one that seems to have some truth in it. Ford did get a loan (not a grant) from the EU for their Turkish plant (which was already building most of the Transits), and after that their Southampton plant closed. The EU had already loaned money to Ford UK but that doesn’t appear to have saved it.
http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/10026411.Focus_on_Ford__The___80m_EU_loan_for_Ford_s_Turkish_Transit_plant/

British Army’s new Ajax fighting vehicles to be built in SPAIN using SWEDISH steel at the request of the EU to support jobs in Spain with EU grant, rather than Wales.

Yes, the Ajax will be built in SPAIN using SWEDISH steel (the capitals betray the direct copying from the Mirror headline) but not at the request of the EU. Blame our own government for that one, they commissioned it.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-armys-new-fighting-vehicles-7928358

Dyson gone to Malaysia, with an EU loan.
Crown Closures, Bournemouth (Was METAL BOX), gone to Poland with EU grant, once employed 1,200.
M&S manufacturing gone to far east with EU loan.
Texas Instruments Greenock gone to Germany with EU grant.
Indesit at Bodelwyddan Wales gone with EU grant.
Sekisui Alveo said production at its Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Park foam plant will relocate production to Roermond in the Netherlands, with EU funding.
Hoover Merthyr factory moved out of UK to Czech Republic and the Far East by Italian company Candy with EU backing.

All these factories did indeed move overseas. But not with EU money. Sticking “with EU grant” on the end of a sentence doesn’t make it a fact.

Hornby models gone. In fact all toys and models now gone from UK along with the patents all with with EU grants.

What does this even mean? Hornby is still a UK company, and in fact has bought many European companies. Like many companies it moved manufacturing to China, but that’s nothing to do with the EU.

ICI integration into Holland’s AkzoNobel with EU bank loan and within days of the merger, several factories in the UK, were closed, eliminating 3,500 jobs

Yes ICI was bought by AkzoNobel, but not with EU money. I can find no evidence that factories were closed at the time. Since then, AkzoNobel has closed a couple of plants because it has built a new one in Gateshead.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/56d5da5c-a7ea-11e0-afc2-00144feabdc0.html

Boots sold to Italians Stefano Pessina who have based their HQ in Switzerland to avoid tax to the tune of £80 million a year, using an EU loan for the purchase.

Stefano Pessina isn’t a company, he’s a person. He bought out his own company, Alliance Boots, in 2007, and is now in charge of Walgreen Boots Alliance, formed in 2012. Boots was not bought with EU money. And although they are headquartered in Switzerland to avoid tax, their UK operations are firmly based here and they are a major UK employer.
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2007/jun/21/privateequity

JDS Uniphase run by two Dutch men, bought up companies in the UK with £20 million in EU ‘regeneration’ grants, created a pollution nightmare and just closed it all down leaving 1,200 out of work and an environmental clean-up paid for by the UK tax-payer. They also raided the pension fund and drained it dry.

I can’t even find out where this story originated. If you know, please enlighten me! JDSU was an American company; I have no idea where this Dutch element crept in. If they’d left us with a pollution nightmare and raided the pensions I would have thought it would be at least mentioned on their Wikipedia page, under “Controversies” or something….
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JDSU

UK airports are owned by a Spanish company.
Scottish Power is owned by a Spanish company.
Most London buses are run by Spanish and German companies.
The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to be built by French company EDF, part owned by the French government, using cheap Chinese steel that has catastrophically failed in other nuclear installations. Now EDF say the costs will be double or more and it will be very late even if it does come online.
The Mini cars that Cameron stood in front of as an example of British engineering, are built by BMW mostly in Holland and Austria. His campaign bus was made in Germany even though we have Plaxton, Optare, Bluebird, Dennis etc., in the UK. The bicycle for the Greens was made in the far east, not by Raleigh UK but then they are probably going to move to the Netherlands too as they have said recently.

Yes, most of this is true or mostly true, I’m starting to lose the will to check. But what does any of that have to do with the EU? They didn’t make our companies sell to the Spanish and French and Germans, these things just happen. It’s called capitalism, and UK companies buy out European companies and close down their factories too. And it’s our government who handed Hinckley Point over to the French and Chinese.

Swindon was once our producer of rail locomotives and rolling stock. Not any more, it’s Bombardier in Derby and due to their losses in the aviation market, that could see the end of the British railways manufacturing altogether even though Bombardier had EU grants to keep Derby going which they diverted to their loss-making aviation side in Canada.

Yes… except the EU grants bit. Just can’t find any evidence of that.

39% of British invention patents have been passed to foreign companies, many of them in the EU

I’m a UK and European patent attorney. Trust me, this statement doesn’t even make sense. Passed by whom, passed how?
**EDIT** I think I worked this one out. Although I can’t make the numbers fit with any recent statistics, it must mean “granted”. Some number of UK patents have been granted to foreign companies. Well yes, of course, that’s how the patent system works. Ideally, you get a patent wherever you are going to sell your product. You don’t have to be a native of that country to get it. UK companies get patents in foreign countries too, that’s how it works.

Anyone who thinks the EU is good for British industry or any other business simply hasn’t paid attention to what has been systematically asset-stripped from the UK. Name me one major technology company still running in the UK, I used to contract out to many, then the work just dried up as they were sold off to companies from France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, etc.,

There’s plenty of UK technology companies. In my job I see them come and go and come and go… it’s just the way things are. Maybe they aren’t the old fashioned build-things-in-a-factory companies, but they’re still technology companies. Shazam, for example.

and now we don’t even teach electronic technology for technicians any more, due to EU regulations.

I give up. Now you’re just making shit up.


This website was started to share positive stories about the EU. I’ve broken the rules a little with this one… but I just couldn’t let it lie!

Visit our Facebook page and tell us what the EU has done for you!

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39 thoughts on “No, the EU does not fund companies to move jobs out of the UK”

  1. Excellent job! well researched! I am IN! and by the way, you can publish my email address with pleasure because should the haters get hold of it i can change it without a problem which is more than we can say about leaving the EU because once were out thats it! No way back!!!

  2. Yes I did start to research this and found AJAX is 40% made in Spain but 60% made in UK Also uk Airports are Spanish I found Gatwick is owned by a Nigerian Manchester (3rd largest) is owned by Manchester council who also own Stanstead Luton is owned by Luton Council Heathrow is 10% Chinese and a Spanish led consortiam owns a large part but the consortium is made up of various pension fund companies including 20% Canadian and various including UK. Also the EU does not fund American companies to move ie Cadburies and Ford to move

    1. Have you ever thought of using full-stops and punctuation? It was invented to make text more comprehensible. It has the very nice side effect of making the writer seem less like an uneducated peasant whose POV is not worth considering.

  3. ‘Most London buses are run by Spanish and German companies.’

    Let’s debunk this one…

    Transport for London bus contractors, by market share (Source: http://www.londonbusroutes.net/garages.htm):

    24.89% – Go-Ahead Group Plc (UK company, London based and on the LSE)
    18.02% – Metroline (owned by a company based in Singapore)
    17.42% – Arriva (owned by Germany’s state railway)
    13.56% – Stagecoach Group Plc (UK company, Scotland based and on the LSE)
    11.36% – RATP Dev (owned by RATP, the Parisian transport operator and a French company)
    8.31% – Abellio (owned by NS, the Netherlands state railway)
    4.75% – Transit Systems (owned by a company based in Australia)
    0.99% – CTPlus (UK owned, a social enterprise company based in Hackney)
    0.29% – Sullivan Buses (UK owned, based in Hertfordshire)
    0.04% – Uno (owned by the University of Hertfordshire)

    So,
    * 39.77% owned by UK-owned companies
    * 37.09% owned by EU-owned companies
    * 18.02% owned by Singapore-owned companies
    * 4.75% owned by Australian-owned companies

    So the original statement was that ‘most are owned by Spanish and German companies’. WRONG. Not one Spanish company in the market and just 17.42% in German ownership.

    Sorry, this is my work area… 🙂

  4. Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with EU grant.

    https://infacts.org/eu-not-paying-uk-firms-outsource/

    In 2012 Ford did receive a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB), an EU institution, of around £150 million for a factory in Turkey. The loan was not to relocate, as Hannan says, though it occurred around the same time as Ford chose to close its factory in Southampton.

    As such, the loan stirred controversy in local newspapers. But it should be put in context of EIB lending in Britain, which was worth around £6 billion last year. EIB loans fund projects like Crossrail and the Midlands Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham. Notably, the bank lent Ford £450 million in 2010 to develop a new generation of greener vehicles in the UK.

    That is on top of the £13 billion in EU structural and investment funds that we are due to receive over the current 7-year budget period. In addition, we are the second-largest recipient of EU research funds, which benefit companies like Ford, Marks & Spencer and JLR.

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/ford/61343/mps-slam-ford-betrayal

    A Ford spokeswoman told us the EIB loan was to modernise the Turkish factory in readiness for production of a range of all-new cars, not to re-tool to absorb production from Southampton.

    She said: “EIB loans are loans at commercial rates, and do not use taxpayers’ money. While the EIB is owned by the 27 member states, it does not receive financial support from them.”

  5. Time both sides of the argument worked together to put the Great back in Britain – I was for joining the Euro – nope – we had to have separate £. I was for a United States of Europe (USE) – nope – we wanted a different way forward. There are more people in favour of a life outside of the USE so we need to respect that and get on with life as best we can. Maybe we can attract all those companies that left back with British grants rather than relying on others to make decisions. Anyway can somebody tell me if it’s the House of Commons that has to invoke Article 50 or is it a simple Prime Minister decision – I’d be surprised if the current Parliament would get an agreement!

  6. This email still doing the rounds perhaps because the existers have to keep persuading themselves it was the right thing to do. I have had a rant back at them and then directed them to your website. Many, many thanks for this even now as I think we need to keep on showing people the misinformation they were fed.

  7. Just had to say thank you for this. Great research. Have used your link a few times to reply to the original copy and paste points on FB.

  8. Hi Katherine,

    I received the above anti EU rant from my mother, it claimed to be “An excerpt from a prominent ‘leave’ campaigner’s speech before the referendum”

    Is there any evidence who this ” prominent person” is? I can’t find anything.

    Also, do we know the author of the original piece?

    Regards

    1. Hi Geoff, sorry it’s taken me a while to reply. No, I searched for some time to find the provenance of this list and it’s basically Chinese whispers. The earliest version I found was just some of the list, in a forum post. Every so often it would be reposted with a little more bullshit added.

  9. Thank you. At least there is people with sense in this brainless sheep country that believes in sheep media that gives you sensation over facts. I’m glad I have brain to use to research and have the knowledge on what goes on in this country and around the world and not for hearsay. Knowledge is power.

  10. Hello would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a reasonable price? Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  11. I love the EU because the introduction of the Euro was such a success, and its consequences predicted many years ago.

    “If a country or region has no power to devalue, and if it is not the beneficiary of a system of fiscal equalisation, then there is nothing to stop it suffering a process of cumulative and terminal decline leading, in the end, to emigration as the only alternative to poverty or starvation.”
    Prof Wynne Godley (King’s College Cambridge), October 1992

    Four out of every ten new posts in English universities are being filled by academics from Europe.
    Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show EU nationals accounted for 12,635 of the 31,950 jobs created in the past ten years.
    The biggest increases have come from countries hit hard by the Eurozone crisis, including Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece.
    20th March 2016

    Correlation does not imply causation but surely…

  12. See this from the FT and Bureau for Investigative Journalism 1/12/2010
    Questions surround EU relocations
    Subsidies for companies moving factories to seek cheaper labour

    DECEMBER 1, 2010 by: Cynthia O’Murchu in London and Andrew Ward in Stockholm
    Millions of euros in EU subsidies have been allocated to companies relocating factories from western to eastern Europe despite specific rules designed to prevent taxpayer subsidies from going to corporations moving plants in search of cheaper labour.

    The relocation of factories from wealthier members of the 27-nation European Union to poorer members, mostly in eastern Europe, has long been a sore point for labour unions. But it has become an even greater one amid the economic downturn and the rising unemployment rates that have come with it.

    EU rules specifically forbid grants from its structural funds from going to subsidise the relocation of businesses. But a joint investigation by the Financial Times and the non-profit Bureau for Investigative Journalism found companies ranging from British tea maker Twinings to automotive company Valeo were at the very least receiving EU subsidies to help with the establishment of new factories, the extension of existing ones and the training of workers in their new homes.

    While a direct link between the relocation of companies and the use of structural funds in destination countries is not always clear-cut, it does raise questions about whether the EU’s oversight of the use of grants is strong enough.

    The European Commission relies on regional authorities to avoid funding relocations. But some are sceptical about whether the practice is effective. “It is not in their interest for countries such as Poland and Hungary to avoid it – they want to attract investments,” says Markus Pieper, a German member of the European parliament who fought to include rules regarding relocation in EU law. “If the automotive industry, for example goes to eastern Europe, the EU doesn’t have to deliver the cream on top.”

    In order to find the companies, the Financial Times used a database of structural funds beneficiaries across the 27-member EU, which we built for this investigation in conjunction with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This was cross-referenced with news reports and data provided by Eurofound, an organisation that monitors company restructuring.

    In the UK, the plan by Twinings, the tea company owned by Associated British Foods, to make nearly 400 workers redundant within the next year has caused outrage as it became apparent that it had been granted subsidies of about €12m through the European regional development fund in Poland, to where it is moving some of the work.

    “To me, this Twinings affair has highlighted the need for independent parliamentary scrutiny of this issue”, says Keith Taylor, MEP for the UK’s south-east region.

    Twinings denies the grant has anything to do with the relocation of the factory. It says the grant will be used for investment in innovative technologies for blending and packing premium quality tea.

    The European Commission says it takes such cases seriously. Johannes Hahn, commissioner for regional policy, has sought assurances from Poland that subsidies are not used to help the Twinings relocation.

    In Germany, French automotive manufacturer Valeo, has caused anger after it emerged that the company used EU funding to facilitate the consolidation of its operations. Nearly 300 employees lost their jobs after the company transferred their work from Neuses, Germany, to Chrzanów in Poland, where Valeo has been allocated about €5m ($6.6m) in public funding for a project – about 30 per cent of its total cost – through the European regional development fund. Valeo also received an extra €6m in public funding for two other projects in Poland.

    Valeo said it had closed the Neuses site in 2009 as “as it was not profitable and had no critical size”. It said the EU funds received by its Polish subsidiary were related to research and development projects rather than the transfer of production.

    Fears over EU funding of relocations sometimes materialise before any move happens.

    Hennes & Mauritz, the Swedish fashion retailer, was granted up to €16.3m in public funds to support an €59m investment in a new logistics facility in Belgium, with 35 per cent of the cash coming from the EU and the rest from Belgian authorities.

    The company, which ranks number three among the world’s biggest fashion retailers after Gap of the US and Inditex of Spain, also received a grant of up to €10.4m for a €35m investment in a Polish logistics facility, with 85 per cent of the money coming from the EU and the rest from local funds.

    H&M, which generated net profits of SKr16.4bn ($2.3bn, €1.5bn) last year, says the investments involved fresh capacity as part of the company’s aggressive expansion across Europe. “The funding played a part in our decision to invest in Poland and Belgium but was not the only reason for investing in these locations,” a spokesman said.

    But labour unions have voiced fear that the EU-backed investment in Belgium has threatened the future of an existing H&M warehouse in Le Bourget, France, with claims that work is being shifted away from the French facility. The company denies the allegation. It says the sites in France and Belgium play different roles in its supply chain. “We are not planning to close down our facility in France.”

    Nokia Siemens Networks has cut hundreds of job across Europe over the past year – many of them in their high-cost home countries: Finland and Germany. Yet, the world’s second-largest mobile infrastructure company has received millions of euros in EU funds to subsidise investments in two of Europe’s lower-cost countries.

    NSN, a joint-venture between Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone maker, and Siemens, the German engineering group, won €5.5m in grants to support expansion of its research and development operations in Poland and €918,000 for a network service facility in Portugal.

    The company insists that neither project involved a direct replacement of jobs lost in other parts of the EU. The Portuguese site, which created 180 jobs, was a new facility providing support to mobile phone networks across Europe. The Polish investment, involving 400 fresh jobs, built on an existing R&D presence in the country.

    However, the projects are part of a broader rebalancing of NSN’s workforce towards lower-cost countries – including some outside the EU – as the loss-making company battles against rising low-cost competition from China.

    One of the arguments for giving structural funds to large companies could be that they help keep investment in the EU that might otherwise be lost to India, China or elsewhere.

    But NSN indicated that EU support, while welcome, was rarely the decisive issue. “Access to structural funds is a positive factor for development in Europe when compared to potential sites elsewhere, but it is far from the most influential factor,” said an NSN spokesman.

    Company relocations have also caused political division between regions within EU member states. Such was the case when Japanese car accessory manufacturer Takata Petri decided to close its factory in Fürth, Bavaria and instead invest €13m in a lower-cost eastern German operation in Freiberg, Sachsen.

    The company was awarded two grants worth €7.3m through the EU’s structural funds scheme to extend the Freiberg factory, which produces gas generators for use in airbags. “Subsidies did not play a role at all in our decision to relocate,” says Jakob Lux, the company’s spokesman. But, he adds, “if you get subsidies, you’re not going to say no to them”.

    The company is also transferring further work from western Germany to Romania, where the company has also applied for EU funds. According to a list of applicants provided by the Romanian ministry of economy and finance, the company has applied for more than €650,00 in structural funds there. “The competition in the automotive industry is bone-hard,” says Mr Lux. “Morally you can talk about it, but if you want to stay in business then you have to accept the rules of the market.”

    Additional reporting by Jan Cienski

    I think this matter is not as clear cut as either party makes out but it is not very edifying behaviour

    1. Thanks for that information. The situation clearly isn’t easy – how does the EU support its less well-off countries while not encouraging companies to close down factories in richer countries. However I note none of the cases in your article are on the list of nonsense above!

  13. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

    1. That’s an interesting story. As it says, the EU is investigating as its money is not supposed to be used to fund relocation.

    1. I think the person that first put this up did not do his homework correctly. We need all the correct, accurate information on here. Thanks for all the he updates.

  14. When talking about car manufacturing plants being moved to Slovakia, this may not be because of EU grants or loans, but it is to do with the Slovakian government giving larger grants and tax breaks to the manufacturers. Which is in breach of EU legislation. This has been allowed by the EU because Germany and France overruled an investigation, maybe because Peugeot, Citroen , Porsche , VW ,Renault BMW and the German arms of other car brands have all moved plants to Slovakia and are making a killing for their respective companies and Countries.
    Just maybe ?

  15. What a lot of total crap ! No will actually believe this childish rubbish .the reason you state for it not being the EU`s fault for anything are both pathetic and childish ! it`s like ” well that`s because it`s an Indian firm so it`s not the EUs fault anyway na na ! !Ridiculous ! The British Public will not swallow it ! We have left today anyway good job in all !

  16. I’m a brexiteer and I was sceptical when this list started doing the rounds but I knew it was phonie when I got to the bit about electronics not being taught. Until last year when I retired from teaching in further education we were definitely teaching electrical engineering.

  17. O have carefully read the information on this site, and have two comments to make:
    1. It is getting complicated: the more each side tries to explain, the deeper the truth gets hid!
    In the ends, it is evident that Britain has slowly and consistently been stripped of is natural assets, and lost much of what it owned that was uniquely British: e.g. Cadbury’s! ons it’s gone, the PATENT goes with the move, and is lost for ever. Also, if a production company is moved, the jobs go also to EU, with the loss of jobs for the British worker! The biggest loss is independence, and there is no price on that!!! When will we sell the Royal Family?

  18. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

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