The biggest political event for the UK in 2016 has to be the EU referendum which is likely to take place during June/July.
A YouGov poll in 2015 found the following results:
But with so much debate surrounding this topic, we thought it would be a lot easier to simply lay out a pros and cons list.
- EU budget: We won’t have to contribute to the EU budget anymore. Consequently, there will be a cost reduction of approximately £138.50 per UK citizen. This additional money could mean more investment into public services and tax reductions
- Freedom: Some EU trade regulations can be perceived as limiting British businesses e.g. food. Leaving the EU would free the UK Government to liberalise these regulations, which often impact SMEs disproportionately
- Border control: It is no secret that Britain is over crowded in terms of housing and social service resources. Having more border control will affect the economy and overall safety of the UK
- EEA: It is arguable that membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) is enough for the UK. Countries such as Norway and Iceland have access to internal market without dealing with many of the EU regulations
- Popularity & influence: British businesses that trade in European countries may suffer due to the UK’s position within Europe lowering. The cost and complexity of trade could rise if tariff changes are made against UK goods and services. The EU is also the world’s largest market and so is significant in world trade, thus having major influence n companies such as Google. We would be losing a lot of power.
- Erasmus: University experiences will be limited due to the end of the UK’s participation in the Erasmus scheme. Erasmus is a programme which funds and aids students to complete 1/2 semester exchanges in other European countries, thus allowing the development of language skills and overall employability in our increasingly globalised labour force.
- Free Trade: The UK benefits from a number of free trade agreements with non-EU countries. If we leave the EU these might no longer apply to the UK. We would have to renegotiate on likely less favourable terms as a smaller individual trading partner
- Farming: The loss of EU farming subsidies would be extremely difficult and costly for the agricultural sector in the UK to absorb
Whatever opinion you have, make sure you participate and vote in this year’s referendum. It is important that all voices are heard and counted on matters as large as this. Get informed and get involved.
By Priscilla McGregor-Kerr
Twitter & Insta: @cillahope_