It’s almost impossible to miss the forthcoming 23rd June vote on whether Britain should stay or leave the European Union (EU). The campaign has been running ever since the elections in 2015 and has raised a lot of questions about what the EU has done for Britain. Being such a complex issue, with a lot of emotions running high, Brexit has become a swimming pool of information.

Since the Common Market was formed after the Second World War, no members of the European Union have withdrawn from the state; therefore, if Britain were to leave, it would be a move into unchartered territory and an unprecedented event in the history of British politics and the EU.

With conflicting messages and mixed political agendas in the forefront of the media, the truth is, is that nobody is sure what would happen. With statistics and opinions becoming blurred, it’s hard to know what the real outcome may be.

To make it a bit clearer, we have compiled a comparative list of what Britain has gained from the EU and what may happen if Vote Leave is the winner on the 23rd June. These scenarios are reproductions of what the media, companies, individuals, Think Tanks, the government and electoral parties have speculated.

Changes which have resulted from being an EU member:

  • Working Time Regulations 1998
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006
  • The Equality Act 2010
  • The Agency Workers Regulations 2010
  • Holidays, rest periods and maternity/paternity pay
  • Fluidity of labour around Europe
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • Britain’s single biggest trade market (approx. 50%)
  • Around 3.5 million jobs
  • Reduced barriers to trade helping free movement of goods and services (and also allowing us to travel for work and holidays easier and cheaper)
  • Various new laws and legislations which help but also potentially hinder how the UK operates
  • Europol – a police organisation based in Brussels which works with all EU police forces to combat European crimes.

What may happen if we leave the E.U

  • Less diverse workforce. This means that highly skilled, foreign workers may not find it as easy to work in the UK as they do at present and UK workers may find it more difficult to work in the EU and further afield.
  • Immigration may reduce and the UK will have more control on the number of future Visa applications
  • Deregulation of certain laws to benefit the company, rather than the workers
  • No limit to working time regulations
  • Rights to information and consultation with regards to changes in your job could be weakened
  • Worker’s rights in general could be watered down (according to TUC)
  • GBP Sterling could fall, meaning the UK Economy could become weaker, causing recession and slow economic growth
  • Millions of jobs linked to the EU leaving could cause mass uncertainty
  • Head offices could move, creating job losses, as in the case of HSBC, which would move its offices to Paris, creating 1000 job losses in the UK or also have the reverse affect and more companies move to the UK as some regulations may be relaxed.
  • If we do leave, we would still have to operate and trade with the EU under their policy on goods, making some question whether leaving is worth it from a trade point of view.
  • Loss of influence over other countries. The EU is a powerhouse when in a collective against certain controversial countries. We would potentially lose influence in the EU if Britain was to leave. Apparently our EMP’s are very persuasive when it comes to making laws etc. in our favour.
  • Britain could save billions in membership fees which could be better used on internal investment such as the NHS.
  • Potentially follow the Norway and Swiss model – they are still able to trade in the EU, keep their agricultural industry strong and not have to export fish.

A few of the Regulations stated above have been taken on by Britain, with workplaces going above and beyond what is required from them. Britain has also become the Golden Child with regards to going above and beyond what is needed from each regulation. The general consensus is that the process would take roughly 2 years to complete, allowing time for adjustments to any deregulations/changes in law.

It is with great uncertainty that any of the scenarios which have been listed above would ever come to fruition. We simply do not know what would happen with regards to the Labour Market and the wider economy.

With polls too close to call, we will have to wait until the 24th June to find out if we stay or if we go.

Sources and further reading:

BBC News:
Blake Morgan:
Moray Employment Law:
New Statesman:
The Economist:
The Independent:
The Independent:
Report (document download) file:///C:/Users/Admin/Downloads/APSCo5498%20EU%20Manifesto%20Report%20LR%20SS.pdf