The Europe exit referendum approaches – should we leave the EU or is it better to stay?
With the referendum to decide whether the UK shall stay part of the EU only a few months away (23rd June); there are already clear divisions amongst MPs, big companies and the general public about which direction the country should go.
In fact, a third of FTSE top 100 companies recently signed a petition letter against leaving the EU which they sent to the Guardian. Whilst, according to BBC research: 142 Tory MPs want to stay in the EU; 120 want to leave and 68 MPs have still not made their positions clear.
So – who is right and who is wrong? Should we leave the EU or is it better to stay?
To give you a better picture, below we have highlighted some of the pros and cons to leaving the EU, in particular the impact it could have on UK jobs.
Pros for Leaving
- According to Boris Johnson, leaving would allow us to strike new deals for Britain, allowing it can become the hub for new trading arrangements across the world.
- ‘3 million jobs are dependent on the EU’ – is a myth – the claim that 3 million UK jobs will be lost if we leave the EU is reputedly believed to be a scare tactic and factually wrong.
- Cameron has secured a commitment from the EU to: reduce the burden of regulation whilst also deepening the single market and ensuring they sign-off crucial international trade deals. Combined this will afford businesses greater flexibility when conducting trade abroad.
- Despite many claims, there is little evidence suggesting trade would fall between British and European businesses/consumers.
- Our UK labour market is dynamic and would easily adjust to this change – just as it did prior to the financial crisis. During that time the UK witnessed 4 million job creations and 3.7 million job losses every year. Sound familiar?
- Britain pays direct membership costs of £17.4 billion to be part of the EU. Remove this membership cost and it could be redirected into the UK to handle any potential job losses.
- Norway is a clear example of a country that successfully trades with the EU without being a part of it. They control their own agriculture and keep their fish, without having to fulfil EU quotas. If Norway can do it – why not the UK?
Cons for Leaving
- Many top businesses feel leaving will deter investment in the UK. In fact, a number of companies are already considering scaling back their investment in the UK, should we leave the EU. These include Nestle, Hyundai, Ford and US investment Bank Goldman Sachs.
- According to signatories of the letter we mentioned previously, they believe businesses need unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue growing, investing and creating new jobs.
- The EU has opened up the aviation market by enabling airlines to reduce the cost of flying and in turn making it easier for the public to go on holiday as well as for businesses to export products.
- Former home secretary Alan Johnson claims two-thirds of British manufacturing jobs are dependent on European demand, meaning should we leave up to 50,000 apprenticeships across the country could be at risk.
- Europhiles believe leaving the EU will create economic uncertainty.
- Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has claimed in the past that 3 million jobs on dependent on EU membership.
- The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders feels Europe is essential to the success of the UK automotive industry, as it employs 700,000 people and accounts for 3% of GDP. Similarly, without the UK’s membership within the EU, many manufacturers feel investing here would be less attractive.
- Foreign banks (250) employ over 160,000 people across the UK.
- Britain’s biggest trading partners – France and Germany – belong to the EU.
- 50% of our exports go to EU countries and only through our membership are we able to have a say over how trading rules are drawn up.
As you can see there are numerous perks and downsides to staying with the EU; both to the country as a whole and to jobs. We can only hope that when the referendum arrives, the government makes the right decision.