In yesterday’s post, I looked briefly at some key points on immigration and border control that assisted me with coming to a conclusion. Today, I want to look at things from an economical point of view. Again, I have used the BBC for some of this, as well as a blog post by MoneySavingExpert.com’s own Martin Lewis.
As things stand, Britain is part of the EU single market, often cited as the world’s largest single market. This allows free movement of goods, services, capital and workers. In fairly simple terms, it means that countries within the EU can trade with each other without penalties in the form of taxes applied to imports and limits on how much of something can be imported at once. The EU has largely removed many of the barriers that add cost to importing and exporting, meaning that consumers largely pay less for a product than if we were outside of the EU single market. Various sites have prepared calculators which, typically speaking, show you how much more your shopping bill could be if we left the EU.
Some example arguments by Leave supporters include freeing ourselves from EU regulations and that Britain is still a big enough name to negotiate its own trade deals with other countries. I expect the latter is true, but the extent to which these deals will be favourable is a big unknown. Foreign investment could also drop as foreign businesses may be less inclined to invest in Britain if it did not guarantee full access to the EU market.
In terms of freedom from EU regulations, this is a scary prospect for me. The EU currently sets a number of standards on which consumer products must meet and has assisted with jurisdictional issues when consumers are seeking to bring a claim against foreign manufacturers of faulty products.
The biggest thing that has leaned me more towards remain on this subject is the question of risk. I wouldn’t like to think I am risk adverse (even if the reality is that I probably am) but even the uncertainty of whether we leave or remain in the EU has seen huge drops in the FTSE 100 index (an index of the share prices for the top 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange) indicating that people were selling shares they had in companies based in the UK. Drops in the value of the Pound and Euro have also been noted but given the relative small changes that happen to currency exchange rates in any event, I am not seeing this as a big indicator.
I do expect Britain could put in place trade deals if we left the EU, and I am sure there would be some good ones as well. But I think it would take a while to get these in place. Remaining in the EU, I think the membership fees are covered by the money they bring in via trade within the EU and in terms of the net positive impact immigrants have on the economy (see yesterday’s post for more on this).
If you’re basing your vote largely on your calculator and what sums you can pull together, it seems to me that you will likely never know if you made the right choice. But I suggest you read the blog by Martin Lewis and consider his thought process. It is very clear and presented in a very unbiased manner. Again, it can be found here: www.mse.me/eu