This is now an archive page, but left available for information
The purpose of this page is to try and inform with facts about the EU referendum, to be held on 23rd June 2016. As you know I have just recently declared my position, but since the referendum was called in February I have sought to address the 82% (according to my own survey) of people who want to be better informed. The page will be updated regularly. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but I hope to cover the main points that come up in discussion. It is a genuine attempt to be accurate and balanced with all the facts, but I don’t claim it to be absolutely accurate in every regard.
The EU: Your questions answered.
This booklet gives a brief overview of some of the issues and questions people have raised about the European Union. Many people have said that they don’t have enough information about Britain’s membership of the EU. Click Here…
‘Implications of the referendum on EU membership for the UK’s role in the world’
This is one of the best, and unbiased reports available on the EU referendum, presented by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, and encourages voters to consider the long-term consequences of the referendum decision, regardless of whether the UK stays or leaves, for:
– the UK’s trading relationship with the rest of the EU;
– the UK’s trading relationship with the rest of the world;
– the UK’s international representation and reputation;
– how the EU and the EU’s external policies might develop.
The £4,300 question: would leaving the EU really make every household worse off?
Conclusion: At best that’s a red herring. Most economists seem to agree that leaving the EU would cost the UK economically but this amount is an unhelpful summary of the underlying research. See here from fullfacts.org
What is the exact question we are being asked to vote on?
The exact wording on the ballot paper will be; “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” Everyone on the electoral roll will then have the opportunity to vote for one of the following; ‘Remain a member of the European Union’ or ‘Leave the European Union’. The Electoral Commission proposed this question which has now been approved.
How much does the UK give to the EU?
An accurate figure is just under £250Million a week, or £13Billion a year. This takes into account the UK’s rebate. In 2015 the EU’s spending on the UK was £4.5Billion, meaning the net contribution was about £8.5Billion. The £55Million a day figure that is often quoted doesn’t take into account the UK’s rebate, and is based on all EU spending by government AND some other sources. A more accurate figure would appear to be £35Million a day in total with a net contribution of £23Million a day. (Source; fullfact.org)
So the UK is a net contributor to the EU, but vervain regions of the UK, where living standards fall short of the EU average, do receive significant levels of support from the budget through the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund.
How will leaving the EU affect migration?
Currently we can control non-EU migration, but all EU citizens have a right to travel to the UK. If the UK left the EU, and subject to the arrangements that were negotiated with the European Free Trade Area, the UK could choose to change the rules to ensure all migration was based on the same criteria.
To achieve the net migration target figures that the Government is aiming for (below 100,000pa), we have to have more restrictions on non-EU migration to try and balance the numbers from the EU. In practice this means restricting often those from English speaking countries, and not having the ability to specifically welcome people who have the skills we need, students, people who could invest etc. However the stats below show that the overwhelming numbers of people coming here from the EU are here to work.
Will the ‘pull factor’ change as a result of the Prime Minister’s deal?
It is thought that changes to benefit entitlements will have an effect on how many people want to come to the UK. Other issues such as the introduction of the minimum living wage is likely to mean that we will remain attractive.
What is the rate of migration?
– Migration was 617,000 to the year ending September 2015, emigration was 294,000 and therefore net migration was 323,000.
– Net migration from the EU to UK was 170,000 of which 96,000 came with a job to go to, and 69,000 were looking for work.
– There were 38,878 asylum applications, up 20% on the year.
– There are now 2 million EU nationals employed in the UK, and 1.2 million non-EU nationals (Source ONS)
How will trade be affected?
The share of UK exports going to the EU has declined in recent years, but remains our most important trading partner. In 2014 it accounted for 45% (down from 55% in 2002) of UK goods and services exports (£230 billion) and 53% of UK imports (£289 billion).
Some argue that membership of the EU allows the UK to benefit from better trade deals than it would be able to negotiate on its own. However, EU membership entails some compromises and limits the UK’s ability to prioritise its own interests. Leaving the EU would allow the UK to set its own trade and investments policies but there could be some costs associated with this. (Source House of Commons Library)
There would be significant change to the UK employment law if we left the EU; at the moment much of this comes from Europe. For e.g. ‘Working Time Regulations’, and ‘Agency Worker Regulations’ would need to be confirmed, repealed or amended in UK law.
Trade unions are likely to oppose any perceived rowing back on rights originating from the Social Chapter.
I have also included some links to articles that may have a bias on either side, but that I and my team have found to be particularly helpful on this subject.