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Why should you care about Brexit?

Earlier this week the FT poll of polls had 46% wanting to stay in the EU and 38% wanting to leave. With 4 months to go until the 23 June vote, it is too close to call. This is going to be a hotly contested battle; but as a UK voter why should you care?

The Eurosceptic headlines have been ten a penny in recent years. We have seen a rise in support for parties such as the British National Party and the UK Independence Party and both parties have been incredibly vocal on why independence is best. Perhaps what we haven’t heard as much on is why the UK should stay in the EU. But what is actually on the line?

The free market

Currently Britain has access to a free market across Europe which includes 500 million people and 28 countries1. Brexit could result in price increases on European products and companies that export across the EU could face restrictions. The UK would also sacrifice trade agreements with 60 non-EU countries – these would have to be renegotiated.

Business hub

The UK is currently a hub for Finance companies and many other industries; how keen would large corporates be to locate their head office in Britain post-Brexit?

Regulation

A lot of the regulation we have in the UK around finance, farming, energy etc. comes from the EU. Some of this helps with national security and supply levels. Leaving the EU would call this into question, the UK would have a choice on whether to comply with the regulations and the EU would have a choice on whether to include us in those discussions.

Economic strength

The EU in it’s current state has been around since 1993. Ending the UK’s union with the EU after over 20 years is a big unknown. It is anticipated that Brexit could weaken the strength of the pound as well as impacting the rest of the EU.

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Travel

It may be more difficult for individuals to relocate in other countries. So that year in Sweden or retirement in Spain could be more difficult, if not near impossible.

Scotland

Brexit could reopen the Scottish referendum. If the UK chooses to leave the EU but Scotland decides to stay we could face a breakdown of the UK.

Tax

Membership of the EU comes with a cost. British tax payers stand to gain £12billion a year from Brexit1. But many UK farmers receive benefits from the EU and there would be numerous expenses that the UK may have to start covering as a result of Brexit.

There is a lot at stake in this referendum and the impacts are largely unknown. This will be a historical few months in European history.

1 FT.com

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