Phil MeekinView Profile
The last few months have been filled with campaigning, claims, counter claims, TV debates, photo opportunities and more. All of which have been gearing up for the important EU referendum this June.
As we head towards the Brexit vote in a couple of days, we take a look at some of the pro’s and con’s of leaving the EU that may influence the way many vote on Thursday.
Leaving the EU makes us free to negotiate our own trade deals with over 20 countries (that are currently part of the EU) and further afield. Having that freedom gives us the benefits of setting our own prices and rules for these deals. Ukip leader Nigel Farage suggests a trade deal in the form of Norway’s for ourselves were we to leave. Norway accesses to the single market though it is not bound to EU laws like we currently are. How likely a deal like that is could only be discovered after leaving the EU.
Leave campaigners suggest Brexit would see the UK free from EU laws and in a position to re-invent itself and its economy. Barclays, the bank, put forward a worst case scenario that benefits the leave campaign’s argument. It states investment is low currently due to the uncertainty of our position in the EU. However, if we vote Brexit, and other political groups in the EU force referendums in their countries, it could cause the collapse of the EU, making the UK a safe haven for investment. A long shot scenario but stranger things have happened.
Evidence about what would happen to the job market post-Brexit are quite uncertain. Many think if we leave the EU, wages will rise, levels of unemployment will fall and the job market will become fairer for all. Though a wage rise would be good for employees across the country, the effects it could have on some employers could be devastating.
- UK Finances
Leaving the EU would result in an immediate cost saving from no longer having to pay the membership fee, which stood at £13bn last year [fullfact.org]. This is money, leave campaigners suggest, we could spend on the NHS, infrastructure and other social service areas.
- Some other thoughts
Leaving the EU would affect every part of day to day living in Britain. Brexit-er’s say going it alone would see a fall in immigration, a rise in security, more money spent on NHS/social housing and better trade rules. Alongside the UK becoming a strong force in the world again. They feel it is time to take back Britain for ourselves through increased sovereignty and regaining control of our own affairs.
Being within the single market, we receive no tariffs on our imports or exports. With 50% of our exports going to the EU, that is a huge saving to the national purse. Leaving the EU could put lucrative trade deals with other EU countries in jeopardy resulting in a loss of income. Less exports and a potentially higher price for imports is seen as something of a certainty should interest rates rise post-Brexit.
Those in favour of the EU say leaving would force companies and investors to withdraw their money from the UK. Placing it further afield within a more stable economy. The market is already suffering from the current uncertainty of the referendum. Many business leaders and economists claim the evidence for a crash in the UK market, prompting recession, is a strong one.
Those arguing to stay in the EU, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, argue that the EU gives workers vital rights. These include maternity/paternity leave and the 48 hour waiver, which we lose if we leave the Union. There’s an argument sectors such as healthcare, agriculture and services would simply not have the staff to fulfil the roles. They suggest due to the roles being low paid and working unsociable hours, many Britons will not take them. Without workers from within the EU take those jobs these services would simply ground to a halt.
- UK Finances
The UK would save money in the interim by not paying the EU membership fee. However, we would no longer receive EU money for projects, tariff waivers on imports/exports and other financial advantages we have by being a member of the Union. We currently receive £4.5bn [fullfact.org] back from the money we send to the EU. This helps fund vital projects in the UK. It is unclear whether the immediate savings would continue to benefit the country when other benefits have gone.
- Some other thoughts
Pro-EU campaigners feel regaining control of our affairs, as Leave campaigners put it, is good in theory but would stifle the country’s development. The economy would stall and trade agreements would be difficult to negotiate after turning our back on many countries. As a result, wages would rise, companies would struggle, leaving thousands unemployed and many jobs going unfilled. It is a long term outlook but the Remain campaign feel the uncertainty of leaving the EU is too much of a gamble for ourselves and future generations.
There is quite a lot to take in there. Whether you believe we should leave, stay or you’re undecided, we hope you find our Brexit round up helpful.
All we know is the uncertainty of the referendum and Britain’s future cause instability throughout the markets and financial sector. The sooner we know the UK’s future after June 23rd, the better for our country’s finances, economy and outlook.