Well, it’s almost upon us. On the 23rd June UK residents finally get to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or not. Many voters are still undecided – or just plain confused – by the options presented amidst the grandstanding of our elected representatives. So with this in mind, it’s timely to look at some of the benefits of both positions from a business perspective.
Benefits of staying IN
- Being in the EU has eliminated tariffs on goods traded within Europe, representing 45% of all our exports. 88% of all British small firms that export do so to the EU. CEBR research has found that quitting the single market and trading under WTO rules would increase the cost of imports by £11 billion a year.
- Thousands of small businesses across the UK are strengthened by EU funding, particularly in poorer areas.
- Although Britain can replicate similar trade agreements used by other countries, this would take years to come into effect & could ultimately damage British industries for the foreseeable future.
- Europe makes it easier for Britain’s small firms to export, source products, hire, train workers, invest and expand.
- In the event of leaving the EU some industries could end up having to charge over 20% VAT on their products.
- Leaving the EU could mean that every shipment between the UK and Europe would require customs clearance. Therefore, Brexit would undoubtedly make our business a more complex one.
Benefits of staying OUT
- There’d be no EU fees, currently at £55 million a day – that’s £20 billion a year! This extra funding could revitalise our public services
- As the biggest export market in the EU and fifth largest economy on the world (11th largest export economy), we’d negotiate and sign our own free trade deals, like Iceland & Switzerland have done with China
- A Brexit would not impede the right of British shipping companies to carry goods to or from EU ports
- Businesses would be able to tackle the regulation that inhibits business expansion, such as the many directives that come from Brussels
- Staying in hasn’t improved trade surplus. We currently have a trade deficit with the EU. In 2014 we sold £228.9 billion of goods and services to the EU but bought in £290.6 billion.
So there we have it; definitely some compelling arguments either way that may help clarify your position. And if not, then we wish you the best of luck in deciding whether you’re a YES or a NO!