Should The UK Vote To Stay Or Leave Europe And Why?
On the 23rd of June 2016, the people of Britain will take part in a very important vote. Whether or not to leave the European Union. It’s a topic that has gathered much press interest over the last few weeks – and not just in the UK. There has been scaremongering about the influx of terrorists if we remain, but the leave corner. And there has been scaremongering about the economic turmoil it could have on Britain, from the remain corner. What there has been very little of, however, is impartial reports on what the UK should actually do – and why. Here are the facts, without any of the bias.
Paying to be European
Let’s kick off with one of the biggest benefits for Britain, if they do decide to leave the European Union on the 23rd of June. The first and foremost will be the huge savings for the country, as the UK will no longer have to pay their membership fee to the EU. Reports show that Britain paid £13 billion to the European budget last year, although the country received around £4.5 billion of that back. This takes the total to £8.5 billion in net costs, to be part of Europe. It’s a pretty hefty sum, that will no longer have to be paid if the country votes to leave.
While no longer having to pay to be part of the EU could do the country’s economy some good, there are some financial drawbacks too. Mostly in the form of free trade. As part of the European Union, Britain does not have to pay any import or export tariffs. UK’s EU membership also gives them a say in the trade rules, giving the country a serious advantage compared to other parts of the world. With over 50% of Britain’s exports being shipped to countries in Europe, voting to leave could have a serious impact on that industry. There are ways of getting around this and there is a hope that many European countries would want to continue similar trade agreements with the UK, however that may not always be the case. France, in particular, have said that there will be trade consequences if Brits vote to leave.
It’s one of the most hotly debated topics in terms of the EU referendum currently, and certainly seems to be fuelling the fire of the Brexit backers. There has been a lot of talk of regaining control of borders and preventing the country from being “overrun with foreigners”. This argument has only been heightened since the terrorist attacks in France and the War in Syria, leading to thousands of refugees fleeing the country. Under EU regulations, the country cannot refuse someone from another member state living and working in Britain. However, this is swings and roundabouts. Brits are also allowed to live and work in European countries, and there are millions of British expats living, working, and retiring in other member states. If these were forced to move back home, there could be an issue with housing, jobs and an aging population. Whether the balance of Europeans moving out would level the playing field, is somewhat unknown. Those backing the stay campaign have also said that the net effect on our economy from European workers far outweighs smaller problems with service provisions.
Stay or Leave?
That is the question… Unfortunately, nobody has a crystal ball to predict what the future may hold for either of these outcomes. If the UK votes to leave Europe then there could be serious consequences to the economy, trade and investment. At the same time, it could save Britain money and reduce the number of immigrants entering the country. Whatever the outcome, it will be down to the Prime Minister to ensure that deals are negotiated and that the country doesn’t end up seriously regretting its decision a few years down the line.
And, if you do have an opinion, make sure it gets heard. Ensure you are registered to vote and get yourself to a polling station on 23rd June 2016. If you don’t, then you can’t really complain if things didn’t go your way…