Still undecided? Fret not. Here is a breakdown of the essentials to help you with last-minute decisions

 

 Pros:

  • The UK would no longer have to pay membership fees, which are estimated to be about 11 per cent of the UK’s annual GDP, around £200 billion.
  • Consumers could also benefit from the UK no longer having to follow policies like the Common Agricultural Policy, which costs Britain £1 billion a year in subsidies to foreign farmers and is believed to waste a lot of money on bureaucratic spending. This could potentially lower supermarket costs. The Common Fisheries Policy also places regulations on the British Fishing Industry that prevents it from reaching its potential. The cost of clothing could also go down without barriers from the Common Customs Tariff that prevents cheap clothing producers from entering the EU market.
  • EU would no longer regulate trade costs, therefore Britain would be able to to set Value Added Tax and other regulations for itself.
  • All of this could potentially save British households £933 per year.
  • Britain would have the opportunity to influence world decisions as an independent nation.
  • The UK would have the opportunity to control immigration for itself. EU citizens have the right to live and work in any member state. Net migration from EU countries into the UK is at about 184,000 a year. Many migrate to the UK because of what is perceived as a more generous healthcare system and, under the EU, Britain is unable to regulate immigrants’ access to welfare privileges which creates a strain for UK nationals.
  • Being in the EU makes it easier for terrorists to enter the UK because of the above immigration laws. The supremacy of EU courts also makes it harder for the UK to deport violent criminals.
  • Britain would gain sovereignty and no longer be obliged to follow any laws set up by the EU.
  • Less regulation in the workplace could create more jobs, and lower migration could increase wages.

Cons:

  • The EU is Britain’s largest trading partner, occupying 45 per cent of the UK’s exports and 50 per cnet of imports. Membership in the EU also makes Britain more attractive for foreign investment. Members of the Remain camp believe that these rewards cancel out the cost of membership to the EU. In addition, if Britain wanted to be a part of the EU market through joining something like the European Free Trade Area, even as a sovereign entity, it would have to follow laws set up by the EU while no longer playing a part in their creation.
  • Britain could potentially lose out on being part of the largest free trade area in the world if negotiations between the EU and the US to set up such a market go through.
  • EU-regulated costs assure that consumers get quality products for regulated prices. For example, the European Commission agreed on legislation in 2015 which made the prices for mobile fees while travelling to EU countries the same as mobile fees at home. This way travellers aren’t slammed with unexpected call, text and data charges. The cost of flights to Europe would also potentially increase in price.
  • EU students currently are eligible to pay the same tuition fees and to apply for the same tuition fee support as UK nationals. If Britain were to leave the EU the government would have to decide how to regulate costs for EU students, and potentially cut down on the number of EU students in UK universities. Membership to the EU allows access to the Erasmus programme which has allowed 200,000 UK students and 20,000 UK university staff to spend time abroad. The EU also helps fund a lot of educational programs in the UK. These include support for university research funding  and grants to help scientists migrate from elsewhere in Europe to the UK.
  • Leaving the EU would cause energy bills to rise by £500m. Britain’s energy security is also stronger as part of the EU because it negotiates for energy as part of a larger bloc. Leaving the EU would also put the UK’s efforts to uphold the EU’s action plan for reducing air pollutants in jeopardy, while creating uncertainty for investors in the environmental sector.
  • Britain would no longer have any influence over the EU’s decisions regarding world affairs, or the laws of Europe itself.
  • Restricting immigration would be bad for Britain’s economy and society. EU migrants have contributed more than 34 per cent financially to the UK than they have cost it since 2000. Immigrants from the EU also tend to be better educated than UK nationals with 11 per cent more immigrants having a degree than natives. Immigrants also create a more diverse culture in the UK.
  • Three million jobs in the UK are linked to trade with the EU. The UK also receives £66 million in investment for jobs everyday from the EU.
  • Holiday pay, paid parental leave, regulated working hours and break times, anti-discrimination laws, and protection for workers when companies change ownership are all guaranteed by the EU —  it would be up to Britain to keep up those guarantees if it leaves.
  • The EU also put in place laws regarding banning potentially harmful additives from food and EU-wide animal welfare standards — again, something that would become Britain’s job to uphold in the event of an exit.

 

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36027205

http://www.theweek.co.uk/eu-referendum

http://metro.co.uk/2016/02/24/eu-referendum-should-we-stay-or-should-we-go-5715240/

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/feb/28/brexit-effect-everyday-life

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21567914-how-britain-could-fall-out-european-union-and-what-it-would-mean-making-break

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/11691955/European-Union-exit-could-make-British-households-933-richer.html