You’ve heard them say it

  • The EU is guilty of financial fraud
  • The EU is run by people who are accountable to no one
  • The UK is swamped by people from other EU countries
  • UK business is choking on regulations
  • The euro has been a failure

How much of that is true?
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March 16, 2017

I. Brexit minister, appearing before select committee on leaving the EU admitted he had done no assessment of the economic impact of getting no trade deal. In the event of no deal the UK will default to WTO rules. This, he says, would not be as good as a free trade agreement the government seeks.

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What happens if we leave?

• It would be bad for business

• It would be bad for the economy

• It would be bad for security

• We would lose control of our future

Is this what we really want?


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The threat to business

The European Single market is the largest in the world and accounts for 17 per cent of world trade.

In 2014 45% of our exports of goods and services went to the EU.

We would be outside it

Europeans would have to pay import duties on British products


  •   3 per cent on average
  •   4 per cent on car components
  •   14 per cent on clothing
  •   55 per cent on dairy products

They wouldn’t pay. They would go elsewhere for them, or make them themselves.

If they changed the rules of the Single Market, we would have no say.

For more information about UK trade flows with EU and the rest of the world see the CBI November 2013 report ‘Our Global Future’

See also the Centre for European Reform’s June 9, 2014 report on the economic consequences of the UK’s leaving the EU.

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Industries at risk – automobile

FT December 22, 2016. Of all cars made in Britain (some 1,700,000 in first 11 months of 2016) more than half are sold to EU,  from where about half the components are sourced. The supply chain is integrated to such an extent some parts cross the Channels five times before final assembly. The crankshaft for the BMW mini crosses three times. (Guardian March4, 2017). There is a five per cent tariff on components.

Several British car plants including Nissan’s in Sunderland, were built to make cars for European market and rely on free access to Single Market to remain competitive.

In November 2016  Nissan was given assurances, undisclosed, that its trading conditions would not change after Brexit.  Unless all other car manufacturers are given similar assurances their UK plants may find it hard to win new investment.  And..

Jobs would go.

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Industries at risk – aerospace

Chief operating officer at Airbus told Treasury Select Committee on January 24, 2017 that company may cut investment in the UK if exit from the EU brings additional costs.

There could be costly duplication of regulations and potentially damaging constraints on movement of employees.

He said UK was entering a dangerous phase where competitors in other countries would seek to profit from any uncertainty or cost burden arising from the UK leaving the EU.

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Industries at risk – financial services

The City of London – Europe’s main centre for settling some €uro trades. This business would shift to Frankfurt or Paris.

Ernest and Young consultancy estimates over 230,000 UK  jobs could be lost if euro-denominated clearing moved out of the country (FT 11/01/17).

The backbone of the City is international banking. For this access to the Single Market is critical.

Financial firms and banks come to London because of the ease of doing business, the tax rates and the language and law.

There would be no easing of regulation, as to do business in the EU we would have to have equivalent controls.

EU citizens living and working in UK might need visas to stay.

Jobs would go.

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Industries at risk – farming

UK farmers get over £2.7 billion from the EU every year, adding up to 54% of farmers’ income. These payments for the majority of farms make the difference between profit and loss.  Of a net profit of say £150 per acre that a mainstream, mixed enterprise farm might earn, £70 would come from EU.  They would lose it.  And the EU takes 62% of British farming exports.  That would also be at risk.

A further 5.2 billion euros is allocated to UK rural development per annum.  That would go too.

Highly unlikely a future government would maintain  that support given continued cutting of public sector expenditures and the fact that farming contributes just one per cent to GDP.

Farms would go.

Is this what we want ?

Click for more information on the Common Agricultural Policy

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Consequences – employment

The EU limits the working week to 48 hours (though business can get opt-outs). That would go.

Temporary workers get the same rights as regular employees. That would go.

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What future on our own?

Business would move towards the continent

Business would be short of skills

Foreign direct investment would decline. Many firms outside the EU invest in the UK as a base to do business in Europe.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research in its March 31, 2014 report shows that over four million British jobs depend on exports to the EU.

Jobs would go

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What we get out of it

Peace and security
Market for our exports
Clean, safe place to live
Help for our farmers
Help for our poorer areas
Help against climate change
Help against crime

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Peace and security

The EU was started to stop wars in Europe. After centuries of conflict, war between EU countries is now unthinkable.

Countries that left the Soviet Bloc have joined the EU and are doing well.

Leaving the EU could leave us out of justice, security and foreign policy cooperation with the EU.  The UK for example has been a driving force behind EU sanctions against Iran and to a lesser extent, Russia. (Prospect magazine January 2016).

The peace process in Northern Ireland has benefited from the fact that both the UK and Ireland are members of the EU.

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Market for our products

We are part of a customs union.

So no import duty on British goods.

We work with other member states, so..

Our exporters get fair treatment;

Competition is fair;

We all get the best deal in international trade talks.

Like those taking place between the EU and the US.

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