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I’m tired of reading half-baked opinions about a possible Brexit.

As a consultant, and a business owner, I know clients need cold, hard facts in front of them when they’re making important decisions that will influence the future direction of their organisation.

So why are we expected to vote on the future direction of our country – whether we go forward as part of the European super economy or an independent nation – based on supposition and gossip?

This election is about politics, not what’s best for the people or the UK. The Government has had its bluff called. And it’s now facing an opponent in the formidable form of an EU with something to prove – that leaving Europe does not pay.

So what does this mean for voters? Business owners are busy so they don’t have time to become experts on foreign policy. What they want is to see some proper facts to dilute all that opinion.

An emotional campaign manifesto

We share many challenges with Europe – managing the movement of people, making employment law fair and keeping people safe, to name a few – all emotive topics which make localised control more appealing.

But for businesses, Europe is a hugely important trading partner and my clients want to know that they will continue to be able to source parts and materials and sell their wares to the world’s largest economy.

After all, according to the National office for statistics, in 2014, the EU accounted for just over 44% of UK exports and around 53% of our imports.

A campaign of mixed messages

The few numbers which have been bandied about by the two campaigns are simply confusing.

Vote Leave says we’ll be 1.6% of GDP better off annually by 2030 if we embrace a Brexit. The Remain campaign contradicts this, stating that we’d instead see a reduction of GDP of between 6.3 and 9.5%.

If you take a worst case scenario from each camp, that’s a swing of 11.1% – so we’re either going to thrive or make a return to the dark days of post-2008.

Looking at jobs, Team Brexit think employment will boom thanks to a reduction in regulation and red tape. But Team Stay thinks 3 million jobs linked to our trade with the EU will be at risk and exports will halve.

Final referendum countdown

If the UK makes a painless exit, who knows which other countries will make a run for it in the light of pressure from a needy Greece? There would be a long protracted period of trade negotiations with a super economy which is unlikely to make a compliant sparring partner.

In the meantime, SMEs looking to expand and export will stagnate because they will hold back on making big decisions, simply because they won’t know what they are agreeing to.

My gut feeling is that we’ll stay as part of Europe because people don’t like change and they know what life will be like if we remain.

But to get the right result, whichever that is, we need an end to political posturing so voters can make an informed decision about their own future.


How do you think a Brexit would affect your business?

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

2 responses to “Brexit or a Britain in Europe? Time to put the politics aside”

  1. Paul Sumpter

    I am not sure that I agree with your analysis that the arguments for an ‘in or out vote’ have become too politicised with little regard paid to facts.

    The forecasting of economic activity, be it financial or social, is difficult as it is largely predicting outcomes on past experience, known problems and a wealth of statistical data which may be out of date or just wrong, it is however the best tool that we have and any serving politician cannot afford to ignore the conclusions drawn from such forecasts Our own political leaders may choose to use those predictions that suit them but to ignore the predictions of numerous world leaders and international organisations who are pretty much unanimous in their opinions would be folly.

    Below are some of the quotes which are freely available to anyone who genuinely wants to find them.

    The UK’s exit from the European Union could cause “severe regional and global damage”, the International Monetary Fund has warned in its latest outlook.
    International Monetary Fund has warned in its latest outlook.

    World Bank/IMF
    In a quarterly update to its World Economic Outlook, the IMF lowered its 2016 U.K. economic forecast to 1.9 percent from 2.2 percent. While it kept its 2017 prediction at 2.2 percent, it cited a potential Brexit as one of the key international risks and said a vote to quit the 28-nation bloc would pose “major challenges” and could do “severe regional and global damage by disrupting established trading relationships.”

    World Bank
    Asked about the potential impact of a vote to leave the bloc — known as Brexit — Kim said the decision is one for U.K. voters to take, though he noted that downgraded growth forecasts make the world economy more vulnerable. Kim said the World Bank has just downgraded its global growth forecast this year to 2.5 percent from 2.9 percent.

    Chinese President
    During his visit to Britain in October 2015, the Chinese President Xi Jinping declared his support for Britain remaining in the EU, saying “China hopes to see a prosperous Europe and a united EU, and hopes Britain, as an important member of the EU, can play an even more positive and constructive role in promoting the deepening development of China-EU ties”.[165] Chinese diplomats have stated “off the record” that the People’s Republic sees the EU as a counterbalance to American economic power, and that an EU without Britain would mean a stronger United States.[165]

    International Monetary Fund[edit]

    In February 2016, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned that the uncertainty over the outcome of the referendum would be bad “in and of itself” for the British economy.[166] She added that leaving the EU was “bound to be negative on all fronts”.[167] In May 2016, she reiterated these concerns, arguing that if the British people vote to leave the EU, the consequences would be “pretty bad to very, very bad”.[168] In response, Leave campaigner Priti Patel said a previous warning from the IMF regarding the coalition government’s deficit plan for the UK was proven incorrect and that the IMF “were wrong then and are wrong now”.[169]


    In February 2016, the finance ministers from the G-20 major economies warned that leaving the EU would lead to “a shock” in the global economy

    Economists’ opinions[edit]
    Most, although not all, British economists believe leaving the EU would negatively affect the UK economy.[177][178]

    In the week following conclusion of the UK’s renegotiation (and especially after Boris Johnson declared for ‘leave’), the pound fell to a seven-year low against the dollar and economists at HSBC ‘warned that the pound could drop at a “fast and furious” pace if the UK voted to leave the EU’ … and ‘hammer households’.[179] At the same time, Daragh Maher, head of HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank suggested that if Sterling dropped in value so would the Euro. He said “If we have increased Brexit risk, we will have a negative risk for the euro.” European banking analysts also cited “Brexit” concerns as the reason for the Euro’s decline

    Credit Rating AgencyIn June 2015, the credit rating agency foreign-based Standard & Poors altered its outlook for the UK economy from ‘neutral’ to ‘negative’, saying that the referendum “represents a risk to growth prospects” for the country’s economy.[138] (As of June 2015, S&P is now the sole rating agency giving the UK AAA-rating.[138

    Irish President
    The Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stated that if the United Kingdom were to leave the European Union that would cause a “serious difficulty” with maintaining peace in Northern Ireland

    US comment
    In February 2016, the New York Times published an editorial entitled “Everyone Loses if Britain Exits the E.U.” The editorial board opined that British withdrawal “would be a tragedy for Britain, other European nations, and for a world that needs a united and prosperous Europe.”[157] In April 2016, eight former U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury, who served both Democratic and Republican presidents, urged Britain to remain in the EU.[158] In a letter to The Telegraph that month, President Obama urged Britons not to leave the EU and warned that “Britain would be ‘in the back of the queue’ for forging a new trade deal with the US if the country votes to leave the EU.”[159][160][161]

    It is also true to say that there are a number of politicians/heads of state who would support Brexit such as Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

    • Karen McLellan

      Thanks for your comments, Paul. My general point was that a lot of people won’t have the time to do that level of research. Karen


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