EU referendum: what are the economic repercussions?

With the EU referendum set to be held before the end of 2017, British lawmakers are to start an inquiry focusing on the economic impacts of staying in the European Union as different campaigns are under way to sway public opinion on whether the UK should remain or leave the European Union.

The Conservative lawmaker, Andrew Tyrie, who chairs the cross-party committee has said that “This inquiry will be wide-ranging, dealing with all the economic and financial consequences of the UK’s EU membership, and the impact of departure”.

Whilst the issue of the UK’s membership to the EU has remained a constant debate within the Conservative government, Jeremy Corbyn has announced that the Labour party will campaign to stay in the EU; stating “We will make the case that membership of the European Union helps Britain to create jobs, secure growth, encourage investment and tackle the issues that cross borders”. Much of the UK’s financial sector, which is fundamentally affected by our membership with the EU, is set to back this view due to the easy access to European markets and substantial trade surplus Britain has with the rest of Europe.

Currently campaigning for Britain to remain in the 28 member bloc is Lord Rose, former M&S chairman, who recently said in a statement that “Those who want us to leave Europe would risk our prosperity, threaten our safety and diminish our influence in the world. We know our economy would take a hit”. A form of this hit has been recognised by Sir Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who predicted that 3.3 million jobs are linked to Britain’s membership to the EU and will be at risk should the UK leave.

On the other side of the spectrum lies the new cross-party campaign group that is being backed by three of Britain’s biggest political donors who are calling for Britain to leave the EU. Backers of the Leave campaign argue that leaving the EU will not negatively affect Britain’s trade with Europe but means that we will regain legal control of aspects such as trade, tax, economic regulation and energy. Kate Hoey, co-chairman of the Labour Leave campaign, stated “if we vote to leave, then the £350 million we send to Brussels every week can be spent on our priorities like the NHS”.

Robert Koopman, the WTO’s chief economist has made clear that whilst the economic repercussions of leaving the EU remain unclear, the results of the referendum should be “viewed with some concern for global economic growth”.


Safiya Bashir on 12/10/2015





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Safiya focuses on business and political stories for UK Investor Magazine. Her interests include international development, travel and politics.