Today, Wednesday 19th December 2018, is 100 days before the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union. Best for Britain has compiled a list of 100 reasons why we need the people to have the final say on whether we leave the EU or rebuild Britain from within.
It is clear from this list and everything else we have learnt from this tortuous process that the first referendum was factually bankrupt and the current political situation is damaging Britain’s economy and international reputation, eroding our civil rights and threatening the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Eloise Todd, Chief Executive of Best for Britain, said:
“This list is stark reminder of the damaging uncertainty that Brexit is creating. This is overwhelming evidence that we need a final say on Brexit.” Todd added, “The truth is that millions of people have changed their minds since the 2016 vote. As we head into 2019, our parliament is in deadlock, none of the versions of Brexit give us prosperity or control, and it’s time to put the future into people’s hands.”
100 Reasons for 100 Days: Why we should stay in the EU
- Leaving the EU is no longer the will of the people. Polling has consistently shown that the UK would now vote to remain in the event of a people’s vote, with 56% of the population who would vote to stay.
- Latest polling shows that 66.2% of British voters want a people’s vote on the final deal, giving control over the process back to the people. This includes the majority of people who voted leave in 2016 (57.3%).
- Parliament is gridlocked and there is no clear way of resolving the debate. A people’s vote with the option to stay in the European Union would provide a clear path forward, preventing the UK from falling off the cliff into a No Deal Brexit.
- Those most affected by Brexit didn’t get to vote in 2016. This includes non-British EU nationals in the UK, 700,000 Brits who had been living abroad for more than 15 years, and those who were too young to vote last time round but have to live the longest with the consequences.
UK Influence in the EU
- As part of the EU, the UK has more influence globally and within Europe. A House of Lords committee report has suggested that the UK will “lose influence” even if the UK stays part of the EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP).
- At the moment, the UK has a significant voice in the formation of EU legislation. Under the Government’s proposed deal, as well as with Norway Plus, we would lose all influence in legislation that will affect us on issues of trade, state aid and workers’ rights.
- The UK enjoys significant benefits in its relationship with the EU. The UK has chosen not to join the Euro or the Schengen Agreement, as well as having an opt-out on specific pieces of legislation relating to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Justice and Home Affairs pillar. These allow the UK to form its own policies, whilst also being a major player in the world’s largest free trade bloc.
- The UK spearheaded the single market and digital single market, and has been a key proponent of liberalization in the EU.
- The UK supports most legislation put forward by the EU. In fact, the British Government has only voted against 2% of EU laws since 1999. This is roughly equivalent to the number of times the UK government has lost votes in the House of Commons.
- Research conducted by the Financial Times suggests that the UK will need to renegotiate 759 international treaties post Brexit.
- Under Brexit over 50 Free Trade Agreements with third countries the UK enjoys as part of EU membership would all have to be re-negotiated. It could easily take a decade just to get back to square one.
The United Kingdom
- The best way to keep our United Kingdom together is by remaining within the European Union. The Withdrawal Agreement means Northern Ireland would have to stay aligned to some rules of the EU single market, making it closer to its EU neighbour the Republic of Ireland, and further away from the UK.
- The EU has never had an “official language” and doesn’t interfere with the cultural aspects of any country. Indeed, the EU has spent millions on projects in the UK to foster cultural cohesion.
- According to the Former Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade, the Government’s red lines of keeping an open and frictionless border between Ireland and Northern Ireland whilst also maintaining the integrity of the UK internal market are incompatible, and cannot be kept.
- The Irish Government agency responsible for customs, known as the Irish Revenue Commissioners, has said Brexit leading to eight crossing points for goods is “not inconceivable,” which goes against the Good Friday Agreement.
- This is backed up by the House of Commons’ Northern Ireland Committee, who published a report which concluded “We have seen no evidence to suggest that, right now, an invisible border is possible.”
- There is a serious concern that the human rights and equality provisions which are a baseline part of the Belfast Agreement could get lost in hectic final negotiations. That could have a very harmful effect in an already fractious political situation in Northern Ireland.
- Freedom to travel is one of the most exercised benefits of EU membership, with three quarters of all overseas trips by UK citizens are to the EU.
- More than 15,000 students each year study across Europe, moving between institutions as part of the Erasmus scheme thanks to the EU.
- 25,000 domestic jobs are forecast to be at risk in the tourism sector.
- A study by Seasonal Businesses in Travel suggests that European holiday prices could rise by 31%.
- Leaving the EU’s Air Safety Authority would be costly and offer no benefit in terms of regulatory sovereignty, according to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee.
- We enjoy cheaper and safer flights thanks to the EU’s internal market for aviation.
- It was the EU that gave us compensation rights from airlines or train companies if your journey is delayed.
- As a leading member of the European Union the UK was the fastest growing economy in the G7, since voting to leave the UK has slipped to the slowest.
- Europe has invested in every part of the UK.
- The EU is investing €40 billion into UK through the European Structural and Investment (ESI) funds and the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund for the current funding period (2014-20).
- The Government has agreed to a ‘divorce bill’ of at least £37 billion. The Office for Budget Responsibility have confirmed we will be paying off the divorce bill until 2064, a huge hit to public finances.
- By remaining as a member of the EU, the UK would be able to regain more than £200 million a week in business growth that has disappeared from the UK economy since the 2016 referendum, according to the Governor of the Bank of England. The Government’s own impact analysis shows that leaving the Single Market means the UK will need to find an additional £55 billion in borrowing by 2033.
- The Government’s own analysis shows that even if the UK manages to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU our GDP will be 4.9% lower than if we stay in the EU.
- The Government’s own economic impact analysis shows that every nation and UK region would be worse off under every type of Brexit scenario.
- No deal Brexit is going to cost £1000 a year, per average family, with the impact disproportionately felt by poorer households.
- Brexit is costing the British economy £500 million a week.
- Currency fluctuation is economically damaging: a number of high-street brands have gone into administration or have had to slash jobs and investment, such as Maplins and Jaguar Land Rover.
- The Brexit fallout means that house prices have fallen on average by £3,500.
- With a no-deal, there would be 750,000 fewer jobs across the entire UK and £46.8 billion less investment than there would be if we were to stay in the EU.
- In March 2018, the EU agreed new rules to combat VAT avoidance by large multinational companies.
- Any unilateral removing of UK tariffs would be outweighed by the increase in prices since the Brexit referendum according to the IFS.
- EU immigration is a roughly £20 billion net positive to the UK. Ending freedom of movement would certainly lower this economic contribution.
- The Government's Migration Advisory Committee found that "lower migration would very likely lead to lower growth in total employment, and lower output growth.”
- Britain relies on European Health workers to fill staffing vacancies in the NHS, but recruitment has been more difficult since the referendum result. In the long-run this is likely to lead to longer waiting times for patients.
- Applications from EU nurses to work in the UK have fallen by roughly 90% since the 2016 referendum, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
- Currently we enjoy the benefits of the European Health Insurance system (EHIC) meaning we can access healthcare in 27 other countries. Leaving the EU means we lose this benefit.
- The rights of over one million UK citizens in the EU (and 3 million EU citizens in the UK) to free healthcare have only been agreed if May’s deal is accepted until the end of the transition period [download].
- Delays at UK borders could endanger time-sensitive transplant operations. British patients have relied on more than 1000 organ donations from Ireland in the past decade.
- Britain currently participates in European Reference Networks (ERNs) which allow British patients with rare diseases to benefit from medical expertise across the continent. If Britain leaves the European Union, it is likely to cease participation in these.
- Health assessments are currently undertaken at the European level through the European Medicines Agency. If Britain leaves this and fails to secure a mutual recognition agreement, it will have to undergo a separate (deprioritised) approvals process and patients will have to wait longer to access innovative medicines.
- The UK is currently a member of Euratom, which regulates the supply of radioactive isotopes used in cancer treatments. The government has confirmed Britain will be leaving Euratom after Brexit, despite the fact that these radioisotopes vital for cancer patient’s treatment are not produced in the UK, cannot be stockpiled and with more border checks could degrade before reaching the country.
- The EU has stopped tobacco companies enticing youngsters keen to try smoking by regulating the way cigarettes are promoted.
Rights and Safety
- UK workers’ rights are protected as part of EU membership. The guaranteed right to annual leave and equal pay, maternity rights and anti-discrimination laws would not be guaranteed after Brexit.
- Until the EU Working Time Directive was introduced in 1998, 2 million British workers had no paid holiday.
- Sickness benefits are enshrined in an EU directive [download]. You are entitled to these benefits even if you are sick on holiday.
- If there is “No Deal”, there will be no clear legal basis to protect the residency rights of many of the estimated 1.2 million UK citizens living in other EU countries.
- European Union member states have agreed to end the practice of ‘geo-blocking’, where companies could refuse to sell to customers online based on where they live.
- The EU has spearheaded several key health and safety initiatives. The EU Toy Safety Directive has ensured that toys sold in the EU do not put children at risk by using dangerous materials etc.
- The EU has been central to the 70 years of peace in Europe and in 2012 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
- As part of the EU, the UK gets access to vital EU security databases and the European Arrest Warrant system.
- The European Arrest Warrant has been crucial to the security of the UK. The UK issues, on average, over 200 European Arrest Warrants each year, bringing back high-profile criminals to the UK such as Hussain Osman, who attempted to carry out a terror attack in London in July 2005.
- It was through collective action in the EU, that Theresa May was able to garner Europe-wide support in the wake of the Salisbury attack, rubbishing the idea that the EU does not play an important role in European security and defence.
- The EU has played a large part in both negotiating and saving the Iranian Nuclear Deal after President Trump decided to reintroduce sanctions on Iran.
- UK services are dependent on the single market which the UK gets through EU membership and make up 80% of the country’s economy.
- Around 3.5 million UK jobs are linked to the Single Market which Theresa May plans to leave.
- The UK has already lost £42 billion in business investment because of Brexit.
- Business investment for 2018 has plummeted from 5.8% growth (predicted in 2016) to 0.5% growth as now assessed.
- 71% of CBI member businesses report that the UK’s membership in the EU has had an overall positive impact on their business, including 67% of small businesses members.
- Companies are moving their headquarters out of the UK as a result of Brexit. Panasonic, for instance, has announced it will move its European headquarters from the UK to the Netherlands.
- Britain is completely dependent on EU workers to pick our fruits and vegetables. A survey from the National Farmers Union shows that more than 99% of seasonal workers in the UK come from eastern Europe, with just 0.6% from the UK. In 2017, there was a shortfall of approximately 4,000 EU seasonal workers working on UK fruit and vegetable farms where fruit was left rotting in the fields.
- 57% of the hospitality industry is already feeling early onset Brexit effects before the UK has left the EU.
- Consumers paid on average £75 more in the year after the referendum for gas and electricity.
- UK companies could face pressure to move EU data to European data centres.
- The EU has just signed a comprehensive free trade agreement with Japan, creating the world’s largest free trade zone in 2019, accounting for one third of global GDP. After Brexit, the UK will lose access to this market.
- Brexit customs paperwork could cost firms up to £20 billion pounds a year after Brexit.
- The UK is only exempt from America’s aluminium and steel tariffs due to lobbying from the European Commission.
- One of the biggest advantages used by UK business is the frictionless trade policies of the EU. With Brexit, UK businesses will face significantly more barriers to trade.
- Customs checks at Dover ‘would take eight hours per lorry’ in no-deal Brexit. Haulage bosses have said that government plans for customs are ‘dire’ and that the government is in denial over scale of issue.
Analysis suggests that EU tariffs on cars alone could add at least an annual £2.7 billion to UK imports and £1.8 billion to exports.
Food and Agriculture
- Brexit would be bad for British fishermen. The EU has repeatedly said that it would only allow British seafood exporters tariff- and quota-free access to EU markets in exchange for a reciprocal agreement that EU fishing fleets can continue to operate in British waters.
- Brexit would be bad for UK farmers. Subsidies make up over half of their incomes and the majority of UK farmer subsidies come from EU payments.
- Overall food prices according to the Bank of England could rise by 10%.
- Dairy items could rise by 8% because UK has one of the largest dairy trade deficits in the world and 98% all dairy imports come from Europe.
- By the same measure, a number of other food items would significantly increase in price.
- The US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has confirmed that, in order to get a trade deal with the US, the UK would have to lower food standards.
- EU laws require that all food packaging must be labelled clearly and all ingredients used in food products must be listed. Any GM ingredients must be flagged up, along with all colouring, preservatives, sweeteners and other chemical additives. Any ingredients that consumers may be allergic to, such as nuts, must be marked, even if the quantities used are very small.
- In the food and beverages sector, Agra Europe observed that, in areas such as food labelling and pesticide residues, ‘any significant divergence from EU standards in these areas could make UK goods illegal on the EU market’.
Research and Development
- The country would instantly lose access to at least three of the major funding streams under the EU’s current flagship Horizon 2020 research-funding programme, worth £90 billion to the UK economy.
- Sir Paul Nurse, one of the signatories and a Nobel prize-winner for research into breast cancer, reckons that without a deal, British science could lose approximately £1 billion a year in funding.
- The British Government, in contrast, has been far from steady in its support of scientific development. In recent years, effective financial backing of science and technology has been below inflation, despite on-paper claims of increased investment.
- The House of Lords' European Union Committee heard in March 2017 that, in the pharmaceutical industry, UK standards would need to be recognised as equivalent by the EU as a prerequisite for ongoing EU trade. Regulatory harmonisation and conformity to common labelling requirements may increase the production costs for British pharmaceuticals.
- Funding for UK tech firms by the European Investment Fund (EIF) fell by 91% during 2017 to €61.1m (£53m) compared with €708.8m the previous year. Tech investors claim the funding decreased in the wake of Article 50’s triggering.
- The UK Tech sector has been a thriving hub and a leading player in devising rules and regulations around the EU’s Digital Single Market. This leadership would be put at risk with a UK tech recession following Brexit.
- Brexit means we will now have to leave the European Union’s Galileo project, the world's most advanced global navigation satellite system.
- The climate and energy package, whilst being inadequate in its current form, has been a major factor in driving the deployment of renewable energy in the UK.
- EU’s Clean Air Policy Package is forcing Governments like our own to clean up their act. Though they are reluctant, Ministers know that the threat of legal action looms if they don’t reduce the levels of killer pollution in our towns and cities.
- In 1976, the European Union passed the Bathing Water Directive which compelled countries to clean up their act. Under even stricter rules passed by the EU in 2006, over 97% of England's bathing waters have met the new minimum standard. Our beaches and seas are cleaner and coastal economies have been given a boost because of EU regulations.
- The UK was the driving force behind the EU Birds Directive which aims to protect all of the 500 wild bird species naturally occurring in the European Union. We would lose this influence post-Brexit.
- Like the Birds Directive, the UK was instrumental in the Habitats Directive which ensures that bats, newts, otters, lizards and other species are guarded against overzealous development and destruction of the areas in which they live.
- Coal-fired power stations in the UK – a longstanding source of pollution – are in the process of being shut down in the UK thanks to the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive.
- Thanks to European laws on acid rain – which threatened woodlands, river ecosystems and our own health – there has been a 90% fall in sulphur dioxide pollution since its peak level in the 1950s.
- The EU is leading the way in banning the use of palm oil as a fuel which is a major contributor to deforestation.
- 80 percent of current animal welfare legislation has its origins in EU law.