The pros and cons of leaving the EU
The greatest uncertainty associated with leaving the EU is that no country has ever done it before, so no one can predict the exact result.
Leaving the EU would result in an immediate cost saving, as the country would no longer contribute to the EU budget, argue Brexiters. Last year, Britain paid in £13bn, but it also received £4.5bn worth of spending, says Full Fact, “so the UK’s net contribution was £8.5bn”. That’s about 7 per cent of what the Government spends on the NHS each year.
What’s harder to determine is whether the financial advantages of EU membership, such as free trade and inward investment (see below) outweigh the upfront costs.
The EU is a single market in which no tariffs are imposed on imports and exports between member states. “More than 50 per cent of our exports go to EU countries,” says Sky News. Membership of the bloc means we have always had a say over how trading rules are drawn up.
Britain also benefits from trade deals between the EU and other world powers. “The EU is currently negotiating with the US to create the world’s biggest free trade area,” says the BBC, “something that will be highly beneficial to British business.”
Britain risks losing some of that negotiating power by leaving the EU, but it would be free to establish its own trade agreements.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage believes Britain could follow the lead of Norway, which has access to the single market but is not bound by EU laws on areas such as agriculture, justice and home affairs. But others argue that an “amicable divorce” would not be possible.