Boris Johnson has conveniently turned a blind eye to the actual reality of the ownership of U.K. ‘s key strategic sectors. Many are actually controlled by overseas interests, in numerous cases, by our former EU partners. So much for “taking back control”!

Former Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher, through her privatisation policies, ensured key strategic assets were sold into foreign ownership. This was unlike most other developed countries like USA, France and Germany where such sectors were protected from foreign control.

A recent estimate is that around half of British companies are now owned by foreigners; one of the most notable was chemical giant ICI which was sold to the Netherlands, with patents, research and skills gone. Steel, glass, confectionary, cars have previously gone. National newspapers and media, fiercely protected elsewhere from foreign control, have been taken over by foreign business interests, with ineffective regulation.

Key national airports like Heathrow and Gatwick are now foreign owned, the British Airport Authority is owned by Spain. Seaports Liverpool, Glasgow and Great Yarmouth are in foreign hands, as is our busiest port, Felixstowe.

At least 71% of the nine English privatised water companies are owned by overseas organisations, £6.5 billion in profits was siphoned off in 2013-18, £1.4 billion in 2017 alone by these companies.

Gas and electrical power companies include foreign companies, like the French nationalised EDF and the German E.ON. The U.K. Nuclear industry is run by the French EDF.

The British train companies are state-owned – by foreign countries including German, French, Dutch and Italian companies. Our train fare increases help to keep fares down on their nationalised rail services. Even London buses are owned by the Germans.

With so many of our key strategic sectors owned by our former EU partners, Brexit appears increasingly irrelevant. Taking back control, when the Thatcherite Tories have sold off so much of our infrastructure and manufacturing to foreign companies, is delusional.

Andrew Milroy

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