Will remaining in the EU make the UK a richer nation than leaving?
In Bassetlaw over 6100 jobs are dependent on the EU[i]. That is a lot of jobs to put at risk. Even if only ½ those jobs are lost if we leave the EU that is 3000 people looking for work in Bassetlaw, 3000 families losing a large part of their income. And it isn’t just those 3000 families who would be affected, they will have left to spend in local shops, visits to restaurants & pubs will go down, there will be less money in the Bassetlaw (and also the British) economy.
At the same time, unless the UK can conclude a trade deal with the reduced EU, our imports will go up in price simply because of the Tariff Regime[ii] that will come into effect. So as a country, the British people will have less money to spend on more expensive goods.
I mentioned Trade Deals above, these are very complicate agreements to conclude and often take years to conclude. If we vote the leave the EU & the Government give notice of our intention to leave the EU, according Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, we have 2 years to negotiate an agreement with the remaining 27 countries “setting out the arrangements for its (our, in this case) withdrawal”.
Because we are an English speaking country with a highly developed economy inside the EU’sSingle Market, the UK attracts 40% of all inward investment in to the EU. Companies like Toyota, Bombardier & Honda are willing to put money in to their factories here as they know that the cars & trains can be sold to other EU countries with no added customs & tariff costs. Outside of the Single Market, the UK would be a far less attractive place to invest. Already we are seeing some of these companies[iii], as well as banks & other institutions, say they will have to reconsider any investments if we leave the EU. This is one of the reasons that leaving would cause the loss of jobs I mentioned earlier.
So if we leave, we will have an economy getting smaller, with less money in people’s pockets while the cost on imports will be going up. At the same time, we will be trying to negotiate trade agreements from a position of weakness. Many nations (the US included[iv]) have already said they would not be looking at talking with us for a trade deal. This does not strike me as a recipe for making sure we have a prosperous nation.
You may feel I am being overly pessimistic, but these are the facts. We have a choice between remaining in an imperfect EU, working with our partners in Europe to make it better, attracting investment in from around the world to boost our economy or leaving to face a very uncertain future with few allies on our side. I know which I will be choosing.