Referendum on EU

Hi and welcome to my latest blog where I thought I would talk a bit about the forthcoming referendum on EU as this is such a current topic.

I don’t know about you but here in Braintree, Essex we seem to be getting flyers and information on ‘BRITEX’ just about every day and the news and papers are carrying coverage on what seems like a constant basis. I think it is fair to say that there is nearly as much campaigning as we get for a general election.

However despite all the flyers and articles just about everyone i’ve spoken to is confused as to the true implications of leaving. We are already ‘IN” so we all understand this option but most people are very confused and this makes me wonder if people will vote on the facts or if it will just come down to emotions?

I am also curious as to what sort of turn out we will get in the poles. Where I live in Braintree we had a very high turn out at the last general election of over 70%, so it will be interesting to see if a matter of such importance will get us all casting our vote.

We are now just under a month away from the big Day – 23rd June 2016 and in case you are wondering, all votes will count!  All the votes will be counted and then added up, with a straight majority needed to provide the result. There is no minimum turnout needed, so for example if only three people voted on the day and two voted to stay in that would provide a majority result.

Opinions vary from “stick to what you know” to “we should never have gone into Europe”  and I’ve heard discussions about whether we would need to put borders back in place between southern and northern Ireland, whether you will be able to get a pet passport to travel in the EU, more time at EU Airports on landing as we wont be able to go through the EU funnel and if Scotland will have another referendum to leave the UK so they can remain in the EU! …… just a few of the issues raised by our potential non membership of the EU.

I have to be honest, I haven’t heard many positives to leaving and the Leave argument seems mostly centered around Immigration and EU funding? so just two main points. What would the other benefits of leaving the EU be?

I recently went to an Invesco Perpetual Seminar, where part of the presentation focused on ‘The UK and the EU’ and the facts around our involvement with Europe, some of which I thought you would find useful.

  1. The costs – We are forecast to have paid just under £18bn to the EU in 2015 but we get money back in the form of a rebate and subsidies which puts the net cost to our country of just under £9bn. This is the equivalent to just under 0.5% of GDP.
  1. Immigration – Immigration has been increasing in recent years. In 2015 49% of immigrants came from the EU as opposed to the commonwealth or other countries.
  1. Jobs – Foreign Nationals make up about 10% of the UK labour force. EU nationals make up 63% of this 10% i.e. 6.3% of the labour force.
  1. Benefits – Employment rates for EU nationals is slightly above the UK average. The number claiming benefits makes up just 2% of the total, compared with 5% from non-EU countries and 93% from the UK.
  2. Regulation – Being a member of the EU does impose a financial burden, however we fair well compared to our peers with most EU countries having a greater cost then us.

I have a further 5 points of interest/information on Britain and the EU but plan to cover these in my next blog as these also look at the alternatives available if we vote to leave. I am planning to post this within the next week, so please keep a look out for it.

Hopefully these points may have clarified our situation and provided information to form your own views on BRITEX.

Until next time.

All the best


Claire Blake IFA

07767 308783