Backing Britain Elsewhere, as conversation moves on to Mr Elliott’s wider work, he explains how he has been heavily involved in various Government campaigns and political movements. In the late 1990s, he was the North East Chairman of the Business for Sterling group, the driving force behind the ‘No’ campaign, which was opposed to the UK’s adoption of the Euro currency. Then, in 2004, he successfully led the campaign against

the proposed Regional Assembly in the North East England devolution referendum. This was an all-postal ballot that took place in November that year, which saw a “no” majority across the North East region. Most recently, Mr Elliott was a key figure involved in

the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign during the UK’s Brexit referendum – in fact, the campaign itself was launched from the Ebac factory in County Durham. Brexit won’t slow down business, he says. “It is a huge


opportunity for the UK. We will still trade with these other countries but just in different ways and that change is something all companies will have to adapt to,” he points out. Despite his passion and patriotism, the businessman

doesn’t believe that consumers should buy British-made products just because they are British made. “We are proud of what we do, but we should never hide behind the flag,” he tells ERT, adding that there is a definite appetite for goods that come with the Made In Britain logo. And while there has been a key focus on the UK market

in recent years, Ebac also has a huge customer base across the rest of Europe. And that is not to be forgotten. Its biggest market for water coolers is France followed by Italy, Spain and Greece. But Mr Elliott’s political connections don’t stop there.

In December last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid a visit to the Ebac site as part of his pre-election canvassing. He had a tour, spoke to staff and posed for photographs with Made In Britain posters in front of the assembly lines. He says: “I told him [Mr Johnson] that the UK needs

more things to sell. Don’t worry about EU trade deals, there needs to be strategic investment in the UK industry and UK manufacturing. ‘Do things that are right for us and get the books in balance’, I said to him. “I think the economics of the western world are stupid,”

he continues, “the Bank of England is incompetent and most economists don’t understand economics. “To me, if the UK was a business it would be bankrupt!

Year in, year out we spend more than we earn and we consume more than we produce. We are borrowing money we can never repay. Does that make sense? No.” Referring back to his own business, Mr Elliott admits

he would be able to make the same product in Eastern Europe and make more profit, but he’s not interested in that. “I’d rather make a smaller profit and work in the UK,

because I live here and it’s important to me. I think sometimes we forget that business is here to serve the population, not the other way around. “It’s a balance of doing the right thing,” he adds, “we

have to sell a product that is competitive – not cheap, but value for money. If you live in the UK you pay UK prices; if you have to pay a bit more because it’s made here, the benefit is that money stays in the UK and we have a stronger economy.”

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