Nigel Farage says government's 'squandering' of Brexit has caused UK businesses to suffer
It comes on a week where pressure is mounting on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to offer further cost of living support in his upcoming spring statement
Nigel Farage has said the government "squandered" Brexit for UK businesses.
He criticised the argument that the pandemic had changed their priorities and focus, claiming civil servants had "been at home drinking beer in the garden for the last two years getting full pay."
It comes on a week where pressure is mounting on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to offer further cost of living support in his upcoming spring statement as official figures revealed the biggest fall in real pay for more than eight years.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that with rising prices taken into account, as measured by Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation, regular pay fell by 1.6% year-on-year in the three months to January.
This marked the steepest decline in real pay since the September to November quarter in 2013.
It comes as average earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 3.8% in the latest quarter, up from 3.7% previously, but failed to keep up with rampant price hikes as inflation hit a near 30-year high of 5.5% in January.
There are fears the strain on household finances will become more acute as experts predict inflation will rise to nearly 9% as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exacerbates already rocketing inflation.
Calls were growing for Mr Sunak to offer more help for cash-strapped families and businesses as energy bills and fuel prices reach record levels.
Nigel Farage answered questions from a live studio audience in Dudley on Tuesday as part of Farage at Large.
He was asked how he thinks businesses are performing in a post-Brexit Britain.
"Post-Brexit, businesses are doing well despite the fact we’ve not taken advantage of what Brexit offers.
"Think of the insurance industry as one massive employer in this country.
"Every town has insurance offices, they’re not just in London, they’re scattered all around the West Midlands and everywhere else.
"EU regulations, making the cost of insurance in this country too high, too bureaucratic and it’s taking now two years for this government to even start talking about it.
"Now city minister John Glen says they’re going to look at some of the EU directives on that industry.
"That’s just one but very specific example of what could be done.
"The argument is that the government have been consumed by the pandemic and that has taken up all of their energies.
"There are hundreds of thousands of civil servants working in Whitehall, well there were, they’ve all been at home drinking beer in the garden for the last two years getting full pay.
"This government has not turned its full attention to it.
"I also think this government doesn’t understand small and medium sized businesses.
"I do believe that Brexit in terms of global trade has opened us up to the world in a way that wouldn’t be possible as EU members.
"I do believe that Brexit has allowed the government to speak much more strongly on Ukraine than it would and could have done as an EU member.
"There are things that we’ve done that are good, but in terms of business I think we’ve squandered it."