Douglas Carswell

05 JAN 2016

Vote for innovation: vote Leave

Innovation is what made Britain a global superpower. Our agricultural and industrial revolutions ultimately transformed the economy of the entire world. But today we don't have the freedom to innovate, because of reams of red tape regulation from the EU. Brussels is holding British business back.

The latest victim of the EU's dead hand is the e-cigarette.

Some of the e-cigarette technology (the cartomiser) was invented in Britain. Today, there is a huge market for e-cigarettes in the UK. They have been so successful in helping quitting smokers give up tobacco, even the NHS has recognised their potential.

But now the EU is stepping in to crush the e-cigarette. In May, they will become subject to the EU's Tobacco Products Directive. Think about how absurd this is for a second: the whole point of e-cigarettes is that they are not a tobacco product.

The EU has form when it comes to blocking efforts to reduce early deaths from smoking. Brussels bureaucracy has already had devastating consequences for medical research in Britain. Before the EU Clinical Trials Directive came in, about 6% of all clinical trials happened in this country. Now, it's a shade over 1%, with innovation leaving the EU altogether.

The Tobacco Products Directive could be just as catastrophic for the e-cigarette industry. Manufacturers will now have to submit detailed annual reports on their sales and users. Big Business might be able to cope with this bureaucracy. But small businesses – like most in the industry – will be suffocated.

The sad thing is that none of this comes a surprise. The EU is corporatist to a fault: it always acts against the interests of small business. It always produces regulation that hurts SMEs the most. It always works to defend Big Business from disruptive innovation by new start-ups.

Small businesses know this too. That's why so many are already set to vote for Brexit.

Britain needs to recapture the entrepreneurial spirit of the industrial revolution to succeed in the 21st century. We should be pioneers in the digital revolution – and lead the world in innovation again. You can make it happen: vote Leave.

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