Haines Watts

Brexit or a Britain in Europe? Time to put the politics aside

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?