Leaders of more than a third of Britain’s biggest businesses have come out in support of the campaign for the country to remain in the European Union.
Although there are a number of notable absences such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Barclays not signing up for the campaign. It is looking likely from recent polls that the referendum on 23rd June 2016 could prove to be very tight with high profile politicians such as Boris Johnson getting behind the no campaign.
I imagine it is going to be very difficult for many people to make up their minds, with the possibility that events such as another crisis in Greece or an escalation in the refugee crisis between now and June swinging the electorate from being marginally positive about Europe to being marginally negative. I feel that it is very important to try to remain as balanced as possible and not to get too weighed down with the short term.
I believe that there will be a number of battleground areas over the next four months with immigration being one of them with the knowledge that currently immigration is boosting the workforce by 0.5% a year. It has to be noted that increasing the workforce in an ageing population has helped the economy to grow and has kept wage growth, inflation and interest rates under control. The question for many is that although this has happened is it desirable for this to continue into the future.
With regard to trade statistics show that the European Union is the destination for just about half of all our exports. The question here is whether this trade will still be there if we exit Europe. I feel that it is possible that we should be able to negotiate on this matter as we do import roughly the same from Europe, so it is likely that the impact on trade and manufacturing would be relatively small. Financial services have I believe the potentially the most to lose over all other sectors as they could lose their passporting rights which allows British institutions to sell into the European Union without having a branch there. Choosing this and other changes could have the effect of moving the financial centre of Europe from London to say Frankfurt.
Although overall there are further financial considerations to take into account such as regulation, defence and the property market, I feel that we should try and make our decision based on what we believe is best for the country as a whole rather than basing it solely on our individual interests.