Brexit: Frequently asked questions

So the referendum campaign is over and the public has voted to leave the EU. During the campaign we tried to broaden the Brexit debate and consider the impact of our EU membership beyond just the soundbite issues of immigration and the economy, important as those issues are. EU membership affects our work and our family life, education, health, travel, security, our countryside, our rights as consumers and employees, and our personal finances. With that in mind, we published 50 questions we thought people might like to consider when making up their minds how to vote. We have now updated those 50 questions to reflect the result of the referendum (and thrown in a bonus question).

We don’t say that these are the 51 most important issues – those will vary from person to person – but they do give an idea of the pervasive influence of the EU on our lives which in itself may be a significant factor to bear in mind. We also do not claim to know all the answers (in fact we don’t think anyone really knows the answer to some of these, despite what they may say) but where we can, we have provided more information on these questions and some useful links to other sources of information on our website.

        Government, national identity and security

  1. Why was the European Community formed? Was it only a 'customs union' when it was formed? 
  2. When did people start to debate “ever closer union”?
  3. Would Brexit give us back our sovereignty? 
  4. How much of our laws come from Brussels? 
  5. Will we get back control over our laws on Brexit? 
  6. Will we still be subject to the European Convention on Human Rights if we leave the EU? 
  7. Will Brexit give us back control over our borders?
  8. How will our security be affected? 
  9. Will Brexit affect our international standing and our role in the global community? 
  10. What will the impact of Brexit be on the remaining EU member states?
  11. Will the UK’s commitment to tackling climate change be affected? 
  12. What will happen to our relationship with the USA? 
  13. What about Scotland – will there be a second independence referendum?      

    The Economy

  14. How much money will we save if we don’t have to contribute to the EU?  
  15. What will Brexit do to the value of the pound, or the UK economy as a whole? 
  16. What will the impact be on London as a leading financial centre?  
  17. Will Brexit increase or decrease inward investment into the UK?       
     

    Trade and Business

  18. What kind of free trade deal will the UK be able to negotiate post-referendum? 
  19. Will we be able to do a free trade deal with the EU without accepting free movement of people?  
  20. Will the UK still be part of TTIP? 
  21. Will we escape all that burdensome EU red tape? 
  22. Will the financial, insurance and other professionals in the City still be able to sell their services across Europe? 
  23. Will businesses still be able to recruit key workers from the EU? 
  24. Will we be freed of the burden of health and safety rules? 
  25. What will the impact be in medicine and life sciences? 
  26. What will happen to our energy market? Will we be able to stop covering the country with wind turbines? What about fracking? 
  27. What will the effect be on our Universities without funding from the EU for research? 
  28. Will the EU regulations protecting air and water quality, habitats and wild birds still apply? 
  29. What will happen to UK farmers outside the Common Agricultural Policy?  
  30. Will we get control back over our fisheries? 

    Individuals

  31. What is the EU for and why was it established? 
  32. Will Brexit let us stop terrorists and criminals coming into the UK? 
  33. Will immigration numbers come down? 
  34. Will the EU citizens currently in the UK have to go home? 
  35. Will interest rates go up or down? What about inflation? 
  36. What will happen to my pension and savings? 
  37. Will taxes change? 
  38. When we took the pound out of the ERM house prices fell 5% - might house prices fall on Brexit? 
  39. Will we lose EU workers’ rights like working time limits and protecting workers when businesses change owners? 
  40. What impact will Brexit have on the UK citizens living and working in Europe?
  41. Will UK students still be able to study in Europe under the ERASMUS scheme?  
  42. Will I still get access to the latest medicines and clinical trials? 
  43. Will everyone need a new non-EU passport? When we go on holiday to Europe will we need a visa?  
  44. Will we need health insurance or will we still be able to use our EHIC card? 
  45. Will the government still have to do something about dangerous levels of air pollution in cities? 
  46. Will our beaches still be subject to the Blue Flag scheme? 
  47. Will we go back to weighing fruit in pounds? 
  48. Will air fares go up or down? 
  49. Will I still get the same deal on my mobile phone when in Europe? 
  50. Does the EU have plans to ban my kettle?
  51. Can we still take part in Eurovision?

   ANSWERS BELOW:

    Government, national identity and security

  1. Why was the European Community formed? Was it only a 'customs union' when it was formed?

    The EU was not set up primarily for economic reasons but for political ones following the devastating impact of two world wars in Europe. Winston Churchill called for a “United States of Europe” to counter what he saw as the dangers of nationalism. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was established in 1951 because according to Robert Schuman “This merging of our interests in coal and steel production and our joint action will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” The founders did talk about federation or confederation, viewing this as necessary to reinforce the principle of democracy in Europe that had been so threatened by fascism. However a political community was rejected, particularly by France. Instead, the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community were established by the Treaties of Rome in 1957. The EEC was a customs union and free trade area but from the outset dealt with more than just tariffs on goods – for instance the concept of freedom of movement of workers was there from the outset. The three existing communities were united under a further treaty of 1965.

    The biggest change in the nature of the organisation came with the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, which gave rise to the Single Market, allowing free movement not just of goods but also of capital, services and people. This also saw the introduction of the common foreign and security policy and police and judicial co-operation – the name was changed to European Community, to reflect that it was now not solely an economic area. Finally, the Lisbon Treaty of 2009 formally replaced the European Community with the European Union.

    Sources of further information

    Europa.eu
    Fullfact.org
    Robert-schumann.eu

  2. When did people start to debate “ever closer union”? 

    The phrase “ever closer union” was in the Preamble to the original treaty setting up the EEC in 1957 and has been in many subsequent treaties to which the UK has signed up. Currently, the phrase is found in a recital to the treaty setting out the powers of the EU but the phrase refers to a union of the peoples of Europe, rather than a union of states and also that the words have not historically been used by the European Court of Justice to support any movement towards federalism – the major increases in the scope of the EU have come by way of treaty change, particularly the Maastricht Treaty.

    David Cameron obtained confirmation in his Brussels settlement earlier this year that the aim of ever closer union does not give the EU any additional “competence” or power and that “It is recognised that the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the Treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union. The substance of this will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties and the respective constitutional requirements of the Member States, so as to make it clear that the references to ever closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom”

    Sources of further information

    Europa.eu
    Fullfact.org
    Robert-schuman.eu

  3. Will Brexit give us back our sovereignty?

    “Sovereignty” is the right of a state to determine how it and its citizens should conduct themselves. In our increasingly globalised world, no country can act entirely autonomously - its actions are governed by many external influences, including international agreements. Such agreements are essential to modern life – among other things they protect the human rights of individuals, reduce armed conflict, facilitate international trade, tackle climate change and protect intellectual property. Many of the international agreements we sign require us to alter our domestic law or our actions in order to comply with our international obligations but governments who sign these treaties believe that this surrender of sovereignty is in the national interest. For instance, joining the United Nations means accepting their rules, and countries which breach those rules, like North Korea or Russia, are subject to sanctions.

    In the same way, joining the EU has meant accepting the rules of that club which some see as “surrendering” our sovereignty to Europe. Moreover, the EU has far more detailed rules, and more effective enforcement measures, than many international institutions, which may lead to the conclusion that the loss of sovereignty is far greater than with other institutions. However, others see it as a “pooling” of sovereignty. Robin Niblett for Chatham House has pointed out that “Apart from EU immigration, the British government still determines the vast majority of policy over every issue of greatest concern to British voters – including health, education, pensions, welfare, monetary policy, defence and border security. The arguments for leaving also ignore the fact that the UK controls more than 98 per cent of its public expenditure.”

    The UK has negotiated an opt-out from some parts of the EU project, such as the Euro, the Schengen Agreement and the freedom, security and justice agenda (where it can choose on a case by case basis whether to participate in EU measures), but in relation to the EU’s main project, the Single Market, we can be bound by new laws even if our government voted against those laws at the European Council, if a majority of member states vote for them. With 28 members, it is difficult to see how the EU could function if unanimity was necessary to pass a new law or if individual member states could decide which EU rules to follow and which to ignore.

    A more important question must therefore be whether on balance the restrictions we face as a result of membership are, or are not, outweighed by the benefits we receive from being part of the European project. 
     

    Sources of further information

    Euractiv.com

  4. How much of our laws come from Brussels?

    The House of Commons Library has warned that "there is no totally accurate, rational or useful way of calculating the percentage of national laws based on or influenced by the EU." It’s difficult because it depends whether you include only UK laws which implement EU laws (and do you count the whole regulation if only part of it is implementing an EU measure) or also include laws made in Brussels which apply directly in the UK. Measuring by page numbers is also a blunt instrument as it does not allow any qualitative measurement of the significance of any particular law to the everyday lives of UK citizens.

    What is clear, however, is that after over 40 years of membership, our laws are very heavily influenced by the EU and to unwind that influence will be a long and complex task (see question 5).


    Sources of further information

    Fullfact.org
    Researchbriefings.parliament.uk

  5. Will we get back control over our laws on Brexit?

    EU laws currently take precedence over UK laws as this is a requirement of the EU Treaties and indeed it is hard to see how the EU could function if each member state could choose to overrule those EU rules it did not like. The UK passed an Act of Parliament (the European Communities Act 1972) to require UK judges to give priority to EU rules. That rule applies unless and until Parliament chooses to repeal that Act. Of course, while we are a member of the EU, Parliament is unlikely to do so but as part of the process of Brexit we will presumably repeal (or at least amend) the European Communities Act. Before the vote, Vote Leave suggested legislating immediately to "end the European Court of Justice's control over national security and allow the government to deport criminals from the EU" but to do so would put us in breach of our current treaty obligations and could result in substantial fines. This seems unlikely to be a constructive approach to our negotiations with the EU.

    Following Brexit we will then need to decide what to do with all of our existing laws which derive from the EU. This will be a very significant exercise and will keep lawyers and civil servants busy for years. We could in theory abolish any laws originating from Brussels. In practice, however, we may end up keeping many of them. First, as has been much discussed, a new free trade agreement with the EU may require us to retain much of the single market legislation which sets certain minimum standards for goods and services offered in the EU. The extent to which the UK wishes access to the single market will be a key issue in the negotiations as the more access is sought, the more likely that the UK will be required to accept continued free movement of persons and to make significant payments to the EU (see questions 18 and 19).

    Then there are a range of legislative areas in which, even if the EU free trade agreement did not require it, the UK would need to retain some domestic legislation such as environmental protection or health and safety. To avoid a legal vacuum, it seems likely that following our exit from the EU, all EU directives which have been implemented in the UK by secondary legislation will remain in force (with perhaps some certain standard modifications, such as to remove any authority of EU bodies) unless and until the UK Parliament decides to amend such legislation.

    Over the subsequent years, officials will then need to conduct the massive exercise of reviewing each of the thousands of statutory instruments to decide what should be repealed, what amended and what simply left in place. Amendments to that legislation might be needed to reflect the new circumstances of the UK’s free trade agreement with the EU, once negotiated. Other amendments might be made to reduce the burden of EU-inspired legislation where this was deemed to have been an exercise in excessive Brussels bureaucracy (or to have been implemented with what is referred to as “gold-plating” by enthusiastic British civil servants).

    There is a separate category of EU legislation in the form of EU regulations – these are directly effective in the UK without the need for any specific domestic implementation. Some new legislation will be required to replace these in areas where the UK wishes to retain rules. For instance, to take a relatively minor example, EU regulations currently prevent the sale in the UK of goods using protected designations of origin unless the goods comply with specific rules – so, Melton Mowbray pork pies must be made around Melton Mowbray and Stilton must be made in, well not Stilton actually but that’s another story. The UK has no rules on this because the EU rules apply directly. After Brexit, if we wanted to ensure that we were eating the genuine article we would need to introduce our own rules on this. In this area it may be harder simply to maintain the status quo until we get around to changing it as the regulations are built on a whole scaffolding of EU law and institutions, some of which we may not want to adopt. Civil servants will have to give early consideration to how to address these issues.

    All those new laws, repeals and amendments will then need to go through a Parliamentary process which will make them subject to the vagaries of the political climate. The scale of this exercise is overwhelming, but one thing we can be sure of – we lawyers will be kept extremely busy.

    Sources of further information

    The European Communities Act 1972

  6. Will we still be subject to the European Convention on Human Rights when we leave the EU?

    This is not a straightforward picture. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is not a creature of the EU but of the Council of Europe, an earlier exercise in European co-operation. It has its own court (ECtHR) in Strasbourg (it is that court, for instance, which produced the controversial opinion on prisoners’ votes). Even after we leave the EU we will still be subject to the ECHR unless we choose to secede from the Court or from the Convention as a whole, as apparently proposed by the Home Secretary, Theresa May. It is not clear if we could do that and still remain a member of the Council of Europe.

    Sources of further information

    Newstatesman.com
    Curia.europa.eu
    Britain-Europe.com

  7. Will Brexit give us back control over our borders?

    We already have control of our borders as we are not part of the Schengen area – we are entitled to, and do, carry out checks on those entering the UK at our ports and airports. We can and do exclude those who represent a serious threat to national security such as terrorists. However, free movement means we cannot exclude EU workers and their families even if they have criminal records unless they still represent a serious threat. After Brexit, if we did a trade deal without free movement, we could exclude such people, if we were prepared to invest in sufficient border control staff to carry out the necessary checks, but we will have to negotiate continued access to the Europol databases to give us warning of who was a dangerous criminal (assuming that those with criminal records intent on entering the country are unlikely to reveal those records).
    Of course the practical challenges will include the fact that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (the latter remaining in the EU) will have to be manned in order to prevent EU citizens with free movement to the Republic using this border as a “back door” which in itself will provide some significant logistical issues.


    Sources of further information

    Openeurope.org.uk
    Migrationwatchuk.org

  8. How will our security be affected?

    Rob Wainwright, Europol's director and a former MI5 officer, said prior to the referendum that the UK would face security challenges in the event of a Brexit. He told Sky News "One can expect that the arrangements will be not as optimal (in the event of the UK leaving the EU) and therefore it will be difficult for the UK to replace what it currently relies on in the EU with arrangements that would be as effective and as cost efficient as well." However, Europol does have co-operation agreements with non-EU states including Norway and Australia, so it would seem reasonable to suppose that the UK would also negotiate such an agreement.
    In 2014, Britain had the chance to withdraw from all EU Justice and Home Affairs legislation but decided to opt back into the 35 most important instruments. That decision was made by the government in the national interest and was endorsed by large majorities in both Houses. The evidence submitted by the Home Office, police and Crown Prosecution Service, as well as by all branches of the legal profession in all three of the UK’s jurisdictions, to the House of Lords EU Select Committee emphasised the importance for our internal security of doing so.
    Former MI5 and MI6 heads disagreed during the campaign over the potential impact of Brexit on our security. Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5 between 2002 and 2007, and her successor Lord Evans of Weardale, as well as the former head of MI6 Sir John Sawers said that the country’s security would be seriously undermined by Brexit but another former MI6 chief, Sir Richard Dearlove, took the opposite view. 
     

    Sources of further information

    Home.bt.com
    Publications.parliament.uk

  9. Will Brexit affect our international standing and our role in the global community?

    The UK’s current global influence comes from a number of factors - the size of its economy and its development budget, the size and reputation of its armed forces, its permanent membership of the Security Council, its membership of the EU and NATO and its special relationship with the US, not to mention its direct or indirect role in other international organisations such as the G8, the G20, the IMF, the World Bank, and the OECD.

    At least as long as the UK does not break up after Brexit, there is unlikely to be any change to many of these factors. However, the UK will have less influence over the other members of the EU, including France and Germany, and may not be as influential with the US outside of the defence and security arena.

    Sources of further information

    Cspp.strath.ac

  10. What will the impact of Brexit be on the remaining EU member states?

    That’s real crystal ball gazing – some predict a negative effect on the economy of the rest of the EU and others speculate that without the UK’s influence, the EU might move in a less market-friendly direction. Germany could potentially become more powerful (although France might seek to counterbalance that power) while some of the other states with strong nationalist and Eurosceptic movements, such as the Netherlands, might be inspired to follow the UK’s example. There is a risk of Brexit widening the divisions between a largely federalist France and Germany and those Central and Eastern European countries most worried about the migration crisis. There are also differences within the EU as to the cost of sanctions aimed at containing Russian aggression in Ukraine, with some in the West feeling that the cost is too high. Brexit could be a catalyst in bringing all these divisions to a head. There will also be potential economic impacts on the other member states, not least through having to make up some part of the UK’s contribution to the EU budget, but also due to the overall shock to the European economy.

    Sources of further information

    Voxeu.org
    Global-counsel.co.uk

  11. Will the UK’s commitment to tackling climate change be affected?

    While the EU does have ambitious climate change targets, the most ambitious targets of all are in the UK’s own Climate Change Act and we also have obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Agreement on Climate Change, the recent Paris agreement and other international treaties. So leaving the EU will not stop us having obligations to address climate change but might give us more freedom about how to achieve our targets. However, we currently rely on the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to meet our carbon budgets. We could stay in the ETS post-Brexit – it already covers the emissions from installations in three non-EU countries - but we would lose our seat at the negotiation table as the EU sets the system’s rules and policies.

    Former Energy Secretary Sir Ed Davey said “On climate change, it would frankly be environmental madness for the UK to leave the EU. It’s of course logically impossible for Britain to solve climate change alone - we only produce two percent or less of global greenhouse emissions: we have to work with other countries to achieve our own domestic goals on climate. By exercising influence at the EU, we can force others to do their share; and with the EU, we exercise much more influence on the global stage of the United Nations.”

    On the other hand Tim Worstall, senior fellow at Adam Smith Institute, a London think tank, argued “Brexit could immeasurably improve British climate change policy, for it would enable us to have a sensible one. Freed from the penchant of the continental cousins for regulation, targets, feed in tariffs and the rest, we could do what the Stern Review, William Nordhaus, Richard Tol and every other economist who has studied the problem has been urging us to do.Stick on a carbon tax of the appropriate size, declare the problem solved and go off and do something more interesting.”


    Sources of further information

    Climatechangenews.com
    Theguardian.com

  12. What will happen to our relationship with the USA?

    The relationship between the UK and the USA is profound and many aspects of that relationship including cultural and historical links will not be affected by Brexit. However, political and economic links might be impacted regardless of who becomes President in 2017. On trade, President Obama during his recent visit to the UK suggested that it might take 5 years or more for the UK to negotiate its own trade deal with the USA, telling the BBC: "The UK would not be able to negotiate something with the United States faster than the EU….We wouldn't abandon our efforts to negotiate a trade deal with our largest trading partner, the European market." This is a reference to the ongoing attempts to put in place the TTIP agreement with the EU. He reiterated this position after the vote.

    He also warned that the UK would have less influence in Europe and as a consequence, less influence globally, if it left the EU. From a political perspective, it seems clear that the USA sees great value in the UK’s membership and that a UK outside the EU might be viewed as a less valuable ally. However, military co-operation within NATO will continue, as will security co-operation within the “Five Eyes” arrangement with the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    Pro-Brexit campaigners do not accept the President’s approach. Boris Johnson has criticised the US in its stance towards the UK’s EU membership and argued that the UK could have a much better trading relationship with the US outside the EU.


    Sources of further information

    Spectator.co.uk
    Bbc.co.uk

  13. What about Scotland – will there be a second independence referendum?

    The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said she is "utterly determined" to protect Scotland's relationship with Europe and has established an expert council chaired by Professor Anton Muscatelli, Glasgow University's principal and vice chancellor, with 16 other politicians, economists and constitutional experts to consider all of the options following the Brexit vote. While it is highly likely, in the view of the First Minister, that the council will conclude Scottish independence is the only option to preserve that relationship, the council must be allowed time to make its considerations. Meanwhile, however, she has initiated plans for the legislation which would be necessary to order a second independence referendum. However, in legal if not political terms, since constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster, any such referendum would require a transfer of power from Westminster, which may or may not be forthcoming.

    Polls carried out since the Brexit vote have shown a significant majority in Scotland in favour of independence despite the collapse in oil revenues caused by the fall in the oil price since the 2014 independence referendum.

    However it is very early days and tempers are still high – it is unlikely any such referendum would be held for many months to enable the SNP to be confident that support is stable.


    Sources of further information

    bbc.co.uk
    Scotsman.com

    The Economy

  14. How much money will we save if we didn’t have to contribute to the EU?

    The UK’s official contribution to the EU is around £18 billion but taking into account the rebate negotiated by Mrs Thatcher, in 2015 the UK paid the EU £13 billion or around £35 million a day. (Figures which are sometimes used of £55 million a day or £350 million a week do not include the rebate.) The UK is the second biggest net contributor overall but only the eighth biggest by head of population. It’s still a substantial amount of money – according to the Telegraph “For context, that is more than the annual budget of the Home Office, which spends about £9 billion a year. It’s around a tenth of the budget for the NHS in England. It’s also enough to reduce the basic rate of income tax by 3p in the pound.”

    Out of the net payment of £13 billion, we then received payment back from the EU of £4.5 billion in payments to farmers and development grants, so the net contribution is £8.5 billion. The £8.5 billion does not take account of EU payments to private institutions for research which account for another £1.4 billion. Some or all of that income might be lost after Brexit. Around £1 billion of our net contribution to the EU is spent on development aid that counts towards the UK’s target of 0.7% of GDP and which we would probably therefore spend anyway, although we would have more control of how it is spent.

    So taking account of the payments made to the UK and the development spending, the net amount lost to the UK economy by membership of the EU is around £6 billion. However, it is worth noting that this amount is dwarfed by the potential impact on our GDP of a Brexit – if Brexit decreased GDP by only a fraction of one per cent this would outweigh the savings in terms of our contribution.

    It’s also the case that a preferential trade agreement with the EU might still require us to contribute substantially - it has been suggested that if the UK’s net budget contribution were calculated on a similar basis to Norway it would fall by just 10-20%. If calculated on a similar basis to Switzerland it would fall by 55-60%.

    Sources of further information

    Fullfact.org
    Telegraph.co.uk
    parliament.uk

  15. What will Brexit do to the value of the pound, or the UK economy as a whole?

    In the run-up to the referendum a number of major institutions and economists predicted that a LEAVE vote would be likely to cause volatility to sterling and lead to a fall in GDP. This has transpired but it is not yet clear whether this represents anything more than the usual ups and downs of the stock market as they price in a result which they had not foreseen. The fall in sterling has been significant but many have pointed out that weaker sterling helps exports, which assists the UK’s balance of trade. Imports on the other hand will be more expensive.

    There has undoubtedly been a hiatus in investment during the campaign and the uncertainty created by the LEAVE vote (in the absence of a clear plan for the UK’s continued relationship with the EU) may prolong that hiatus.

    The IMF argued before the vote that the impact of the debate had already knocked 0.3 percentage points off Britain’s forecast growth in 2016, which it now puts at only 1.9 per cent. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in the minutes of its June meeting highlighted signs that increased uncertainty might already be beginning to weigh on demand, including reports of deferred investment decisions, delayed private equity deals and company flotations, and reports from lenders that demand for finance from large companies had dipped.

    There is more disagreement over the long term effects on the economy. The Treasury has predicted a reduction in GDP by 2030 relative to the status quo. In a poll carried out by the FT in January of more than 100 leading economists, not one thought a vote for Brexit would enhance UK growth in 2016 and almost three-quarters thought leaving the EU would damage Britain’s outlook. However, there are those taking a different view – Allister Heath in the Telegraph identifies a number of them including the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the Mayor of London’s economists and Patrick Minford.

    Open Europe, a free market think tank which claims to be neutral in the referendum suggests “The growing economic evidence suggests that there would be a small negative economic result from Brexit, probably in the region of 0.5% – 1.5% of GDP in the long run, presuming a reasonable trade agreement is struck between the UK and the EU.”

    While Brexit would enable the UK to keep its current net contribution to EU funding and to spend that in the UK it is worth noting that even a small decrease in the UK’s economy as a result of Brexit would outweigh the saving made by the UK’s contribution to EU coffers (see question 14.).


    Sources of further information

    Telegraph.co.uk
    Openeurope.org.uk
    Gov.uk
    Bbc.co.uk
    Bankofengland.co.uk

  16. What will the impact be on London as a leading financial centre?

    According the TheCity UK, which represents financial service companies in the UK, as quoted by the Economist, financial and related services currently contribute 12% of GDP and employ 2.2 million people, two thirds of them outside London. Financial services have been responsible for a third of foreign direct investment in the UK since 2007, most of it from the EU. Many of those in the financial service sector argue that London’s role as the financial centre of the EU will be severely threatened by Brexit unless full access to the single market in financial services (known as “passporting”) is guaranteed. The UK will also lose its influence over EU regulation but might need to accept that regulation in order to obtain access. Those arguing for Brexit claim that EU regulation has damaged London as a hub – however, figures published by the Economist show that Britain’s share of global financial markets has in fact grown since 2001.
     
    Immediately after the vote it was reported that HSBC had plans to relocate 1000 staff from London to Paris if the UK left the EU.

    Sources of further information

    cms-lawnow.com
    Economist.com

  17. Will Brexit increase or decrease inward investment into the UK?

    Business surveys repeatedly show that political stability is one of the most important factors for businesses in making investment decisions and referendum uncertainty is already affecting inward investment. That uncertainty is now likely to continue for a number of years (at least two) as the UK attempts to negotiate new arrangements with the EU. Whether in the long term investment is increased or decreased will depend very much on the nature of those arrangements.

    Trade and Business

  18. What kind of free trade deal will the UK be able to negotiate post-referendum?

    While it is highly likely that the UK could negotiate a preferential deal allowing its goods into Europe involving no tariffs or tariffs below the WTO level, tariffs are only part of the picture and are likely to be less significant than recent currency movements for most manufacturers. Where goods are concerned, the bureaucratic hurdles to exports, such as processes for the approval of products, are potentially a greater barrier. Membership of the single market removes those hurdles (while requiring the UK to comply with EU regulations setting standards for products).

    Moreover, the UK is no longer primarily a manufacturing economy. Manufacturing represents only 10% of national economic output (less than financial services) and only 44% of exports. The crucial question for many will be the nature of the agreement on access for services, especially financial services.

    There are a number of models on offer including membership of the EEA like Norway, a series of bilateral agreements like Switzerland or a simple free trade agreement like Canada, but none are entirely appropriate to the position of the UK, which is a larger economy than Canada, Norway or Switzerland, and currently an EU member. We will probably end up with a unique deal for our circumstances – some have referred to this as Norway plus and have suggested that we could agree full access to the single market without accepting full free movement of persons. However, the other EU member states will be likely to have in mind that any deal with the UK will set a precedent for other countries seeking to leave. So far, no deal has given full access to the single market without accepting free movement of workers – this will be the single biggest issue in any re-negotiation and already both sides are setting out their positions on this (see question 19).

    In addition, the more extensive the access to the EU market, the more we will be expected to contribute to the EU’s budget – both Norway and Switzerland currently contribute– and be bound by its rules. It has been suggested that if the UK’s net budget contribution were calculated on a similar basis to Norway it would fall by just 10-20%. If calculated on a similar basis to Switzerland it would fall by 55-60%.

  19. Will we be able to do a free trade deal with the EU without accepting free movement of people?

    While we could do a Canada style deal for free trade in goods, if we want full access to the EU market, particularly for our vital service sector, the key question is whether the EU would in return require us to accept free movement of workers, as is currently the case with Norway and Switzerland. Already politicians, including the potential new Conservative leaders, are setting out their positions on this issue - David Cameron has reportedly told EU leaders at his final EU Summit that they need to reconsider free movement while Angela Merkel has told the German Parliament that access to the single market is conditional on accepting the basic four freedoms which underpin the single market - freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and people. It is impossible to predict where this debate will end as freedom of movement has been fundamental to the EU since its inception and it will not lightly be surrendered by the remaining 27 – the question is whether they are prepared to agree sufficient qualifications to it to satisfy the UK.

  20. Will the UK still be part of TTIP?

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), is the massive and controversial free-trade agreement currently being negotiated by the US and EU. Its proponents argue that it would lead to deregulation, increase employment and boost trade while its critics claim it would lead to a lowering of consumer and environmental standards and allow multinational companies to effectively veto increased regulation through use of investor state dispute resolution provisions allowing for compensation when new regulation reduces profits. After Brexit, the UK would no longer formally be part of the TTIP process but depending on the nature of any post-Brexit free trade deal, might be subject to its rules. As the UK Government has been a proponent of TTIP, some argue that its principles would also be reflected in any bilateral deal with the USA after Brexit, at least if negotiated by a Conservative administration.

  21. Will we escape all that burdensome EU red tape?

    Opponents of EU membership cite an Open Europe report from 2015 that found Brussels red tape costs industry £33 billion a year – however, this report was based on the costs identified by the government in the impact assessments it carries out when implementing EU rules and does not make any assessment of the benefits of those measures. Any trade deal which gives us full access to the single market will be likely to require the UK to retain much of that regulation such as product standards, a lot of health and safety and some employment measures. Clearly, for companies which choose to export, the costs of regulation will be worthwhile. The question is whether the benefits in terms of exports are worth the costs to those businesses which do not export.

    Supporters of the Remain campaign also argue that the EU has been reducing regulation in many areas and under TTIP this would be likely to decrease further. According to OECD statistics, the UK’s product market regulations are less restrictive than those of Canada, Australia and New Zealand and similar to those of the USA, while our labour market is no more restrictive than the Commonwealth. This has allowed the UK to rank tenth out of 140 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2015/16 Global Competitiveness Index. EU membership hasn’t prevented Germany, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands being in the top 10 too.

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that a lot of those rules benefit us as consumers and as employees.

    The extent to which we are subject to EU rules in areas outside trade in goods will depend on what kind of arrangements we put in place with the EU. Norway, as a member of the EEA, has free trade with the European Union but in return is required to adopt EU legislation covering the four freedoms of movement of goods, services, persons and capital. In addition, the EEA agreement covers cooperation in other important areas such as research and development, education, social policy, the environment, consumer protection, tourism and culture. However, the EEA agreement excludes the external trade policy of the EU, its common foreign and security policy, co-operation on police and judicial matters and monetary union (though the members are part of the Schengen area). Significantly agriculture and fisheries are also excluded and avoiding being bound by the Common Fisheries Policy was and remains a major reason for Norway not to join the EU. However, Norway nonetheless adheres to the EU's fisheries conservation measures and the quota system.

    Switzerland's arrangements with the EU are based on a series of bilateral treaties (10 main agreements although by some counts over 200 in all). While in theory the Swiss can choose to accept or reject EU legislation, in practice virtually all EU legislation applies in Switzerland without the Swiss being involved in its development. The Swiss are also part of the Schengen area.

    Sources of further information

    Fullfact.org
    Stats.oecd.org

  22. Will the financial, insurance and other professionals in the City still be able to sell their services across Europe?

    As with so much else, this will depend on what kind of deal is negotiated with the EU, but since financial and related services currently contribute more than 12% of GDP it will be crucial to retain the “passporting rights”. These rights allow UK based banks, investment firms and third country banks who have chosen to base themselves in the UK through an English incorporated subsidiary as a primary point of access to EU markets to trade freely across Europe. Absent agreement, a possible outcome of Brexit could be that UK based firms lose the passporting rights and therefore cannot deal with EU based clients (pending substitute arrangements being put in place) and third country banks might then explore whether some of their business streams should be moved to other hubs within the EU post Brexit. To continue to deal with EU based clients, UK based financial institutions would need to set up an EU subsidiary and any EU business and staff would have to be transferred to that EU location. HSBC has already been reported to have plans to transfer 1000 staff dealing in Euro denominated transactions to Paris if the UK leaves the EU.

    Sources of further information

    cms-lawnow.com

  23. Will businesses still be able to recruit key workers from the EU?

    Businesses rely on immigration to access specialist skills - 63% of CBI members say free movement has benefitted their business. If the UK adopts the Norwegian or Swiss models the UK will still need to sign up to the free movement of labour. Under looser trade arrangements the government could choose to extend the current non-EU points system to EU migrants, allowing in Tier 1 (highly skilled, entrepreneurs) and Tier 2 (skilled, graduate) immigrants but keeping out unskilled migrants except as required for, for instance, seasonal crop picking. Current quotas in these categories would need to be substantially increased if businesses are not to suffer from skills shortages. The size of quotas would be likely to be impacted by political concerns about overall levels of net migration.

  24. Will we be freed of the burden of health and safety rules?

    While the EU has imposed a large range of regulations on this area, many of the worst examples cited are the result of gold-plated implementation in the UK, or of one or two over-enthusiastic HSE officials in local councils, allied with the risk averse approach of businesses and institutions concerned about the alleged “litigation culture”.

    In theory, after Brexit the EU legislation could all be jettisoned. However, it is likely that at least some of it has improved safety for workers, patients, and transport users and therefore inevitable that any attempt to abolish these rules would be resisted strongly by unions, charities and lobbying groups.

    Some UK businesses might want to see some EU regulation maintained as having a single set of regulations is convenient, clear and creates a level playing field for businesses competing across Europe - divergence would add to administrative costs, and complexity.

    Sources of further information

    cms-lawnow.com

  25. What will the impact be in medicine and life sciences?

    A significant body of EU legislation governs drug assessment and marketing authorisations, clinical trial approval, manufacturer and wholesaler licences, and the combatting of the trade in illegal medicines. Brexit will create considerable uncertainty for these industries until a new UK regime is established while companies are likely to face increased regulatory burdens from having to deal with both UK and EU regulators and over time potentially divergent regulatory regimes.

    There is also concern that the UK will not be an attractive place to launch clinical trials and new medicines if outwith the EU. The EU is moving to a centralised authorisation process for clinical trials of healthcare products, especially for international clinical trials with trial sites in many countries. After Brexit, the UK would need to negotiate access to the centralised EU portal and databases, or companies would have to make additional separate filings to use sites in the UK. If the UK imposes its own requirements for clinical trials this will require more tailoring of applications and processes - companies may well therefore prefer to conduct their research in the EU and not in the UK, so UK researchers may lose the opportunity to be actively involved in international research projects. If the UK also decides to require applicants for authorisations for pharmaceuticals or medical devices to have conducted a trial in the UK, this will impact the launch strategy of pharmaceutical products in the UK - the timing of which is often highly strategic.

    If the UK wants to be part of the streamlined EEA centralised system it will have to negotiate access to this with the EU – with some cost. This will also likely entail the UK having to adopt EU legal requirements for clinical trials. The UK will still therefore have to apply all EU requirements, but will have no involvement or influence in the development of these rules.

    There would be less access to funding for innovative research projects from the many EU funding programs that Lifesciences companies rely upon e.g. Horizon 2020. It is not certain the UK could still participate in or co-ordinate such projects. By way of example, Switzerland was suspended from Horizon 2020 projects when it refused to sign bilateral agreements with new EU member, Croatia.

    Overall, Brexit is likely to have a significant impact on UK research and innovation in the sector. Unless very carefully managed, it is likely Brexit will lead to fewer international research projects, fewer patents being filed in the UK, fewer start-ups and spin-outs from universities and a decline in talent and the viability of leading biotech and Lifesciences clusters around the UK.

    Sources of further information
     
    cms-lawnow.com

  26. What will happen to our energy market? Will we be able to stop covering the country with wind turbines? What about fracking?

    After a Brexit, the UK will no longer formally be within the EU's single energy market, so depending on the nature of the exit arrangements, the European Commission will no longer have direct influence on our domestic energy market. Of course, Norway and Switzerland are outside the EU and have voluntarily adopted much EU legislation. However, the UK need not follow the same route. In such a case, the UK would have much greater freedom on energy policy, structure and on choice of generation technologies. The UK could also be freed from EU rules prohibiting unauthorised state aid to particular entities or technologies, and from the renewables targets and emissions limits which drive clean energy investment (although other international agreements would still apply). For example, the UK could choose not to close existing coal plant, and could promote specific new nuclear plant with substantial concessions free of EU procurement/state aid/competition rules. Of course, these outcomes are difficult to imagine in practice because the UK is currently politically aligned to the decarbonisation and procurement agendas and has international obligations to meet under UN treaties. But with Brexit, a Pandora's box has been opened and these debates are likely to resurface.

    The UK has a number of gas and electricity interconnectors with the EU - leaving the single electricity and gas markets is unlikely to lead to the lights going out as these interconnectors are generally private sector enterprises that arrange trades through contractual arrangements and grant access by auctions. However, the UK will have little say or control over EU policy which could move in a more protectionist direction, impacting trading of gas and electricity with the UK as well as, potentially, prices. Also, a number of future interconnectors are supported by the EU and that support may not continue for an interconnection with a non-EU country.

    For the power generation and heavy industry sectors, as a practical matter there is some doubt as to how emission allowances from UK entities could be valid in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme if the UK is not in the EU.

    The UK has already introduced a lot of controls over fracking – there is no reason why these should change on Brexit, but after a Brexit, if the EU decides to introduce further restrictions, these will not apply to the UK unless the UK’s new trade arrangements covered them.

    Sources of further information

    cms-lawnow.com

  27. What will the effect be on our Universities without funding from the EU for research?

    Many university leaders came out against Brexit on the basis that the higher education sector benefits not only from significant EU funding for research but also the ability to recruit the best academics from EU member states without needing to worry about visas and residence permits, the opportunity to collaborate on projects with institutions in other member states under EU programmes, the exchange of students which increases the diversity of student bodies and even development funding for buildings and other capital projects in some regions. Universities UK states that over 125,000 EU students are currently studying at UK universities, generating around £2.27 billion for the UK economy, and supporting 19,000 British jobs. 15% of academic staff at UK universities are from other EU countries. Whether this contribution can be maintained will depend on the immigration rules put in place by the UK after Brexit.

    Of course, the UK government might fill the gap but given the current demands on the public purse it seems unlikely that all of the funds currently spent by the EU on research in the UK (somewhere around £750 million to £1 billion) would, if returned to the Government, necessarily be returned to the sector – if spent on the NHS, the EU contribution cannot also be spent on research. Private sector funds are hard to attract to “pure” research which is often highly valuable in the long term.

    Sources of further information

    Universitiesforeurope.com

  28. Will the EU regulations protecting air and water quality, habitats and wild birds still apply?

    Whether current EU environmental legislation continues to apply to the UK will depend, like so much else, on the nature of our new relationship with the EU. Norway for instance is subject to EU environmental law under the EEA agreement.

    The House of Commons Environmental Audit select committee found that the UK’s membership of the EU has been a crucial factor in the shaping of its environmental policy since it joined the Union in the 1970s. Legal authority to legislate in this area was eventually given to the EU by the member states in the recognition that there were significant benefits to solving some environmental problems multilaterally. The overwhelming majority of its witnesses also believed that the UK’s membership of the EU has improved the UK’s approach to environmental protection and ensured that the UK environment has been better protected. None of the witnesses to its inquiry, even those who made criticisms, made an environmental case for leaving the European Union.

    Some businesses and NGOs expressed concerns to the Committee that a UK outside the EU would still, depending on the nature of our agreement with the EU, have to follow rules over which our influence would be significantly diminished. Businesses felt that this could remove long term certainty.

    Even if the UK was free to amend current environmental rules to reflect local circumstances, there would no doubt be a lot of pressure from environmental groups to retain many of the standards. For instance, what would be the reaction of the public if the government tried to abandon air quality standards in cities like London?


    Sources of further information

    Parliament.uk

  29. What will happen to UK farmers outside the Common Agricultural Policy?

    The UK’s farmers currently receive subsidies from the EU worth around 3 billion euros a year. After we leave the EU, the UK will still need to subsidise its farmers but will potentially (depending on the scope of any future trading agreement) have freedom to decide how much to pay and what activities to incentivise, such as environmental protection. Farmers are deeply split over the issue with many worried about the impact on their fortunes if tariffs are imposed on their exports to the EU or if the UK decides to reduce subsidies in order to support public services like the NHS. The NFU came out in favour of remaining in the EU believing that this reflects the view of the majority.

    Sources of further information

    Nfuonline.com

  30. Will we get control back over our fisheries?

    If we left the EU we would no longer be part of the controversial Common Fisheries Policy. The CFP has allowed fishing vessels from other EU states access to British waters, and its quotas have led to massive discards of by-catch and to overfishing. However, those opposed to Brexit point out that the CFP has already been reformed in recent years to address its worst failings and now at long last has targets to improve conservation.

    As fish stocks are not confined by national boundaries it makes sense to negotiate access with other coastal states, and indeed we have an obligation under international law to do this, so even after Brexit we will need to continue negotiating with the EU and Norway. (It is notable that Norway adheres to the EU's fisheries conservation measures and the quota system even though this is not part of the EEA agreement.)
    If we had an independent voice in such negotiations we could gain greater control over stocks, particularly those in Scottish waters and some Southern coastal stocks, which do not cross borders. However, the tensions between conserving fish stocks and affecting the livelihoods of fishermen which have made it hard to reduce overfishing in the past will remain even after Brexit. We will also need to be aware of the impact on our exports of fish, especially from Scotland, to Europe. Scotland would not wish the price of gaining greater control of UK fish stocks to be the imposition of tariff barriers on its exports to the EU.

    Individuals

  31. What is the EU for and why was it established? 

    The EU was not set up primarily for economic reasons but for political ones following the devastating impact of two world wars in Europe. Winston Churchill called for a “United States of Europe” to end what he saw as the dangers of nationalism. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was established in 1951 because according to Robert Schuman “This merging of our interests in coal and steel production and our joint action will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” The founders did talk about federation or confederation, viewing this as necessary to reinforce the principle of democracy in Europe that had been so threatened by fascism. However a political community was rejected, particularly by France. Instead, the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community were established by the Treaties of Rome in 1957. The EEC was a customs union and free trade area but from the outset dealt with more than just tariffs on goods – for instance the concept of freedom of movement of workers was there from the outset. The three existing communities were united under a further treaty of 1965.

    The biggest change in the nature of the organisation came with the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, which gave rise to the Single Market, allowing free movement not just of goods but also of capital, services and people. This also saw the introduction of the common foreign and security policy and police and judicial co-operation – the name was changed to European Community, to reflect that it was now not solely an economic area. Finally, the Lisbon Treaty of 2009 formally replaced the European Community with the European Union.

  32. Will Brexit let us stop terrorists and criminals coming into the UK? 

    We already have control of our borders as we are not part of the Schengen area – we are entitled to, and do, carry out checks on those entering the UK at our ports and airports. We can and do exclude those who represent a serious threat to national security such as terrorists. However, free movement means we cannot exclude EU workers and their families even if they have criminal records unless they still represent a serious threat. After Brexit, if we did a trade deal without free movement, we could exclude such people, if we were prepared to invest in sufficient border control staff to carry out the necessary checks, but we would have to negotiate continued access to the Europol databases to give us warning of who was a dangerous criminal (assuming that those with criminal records intent on entering the country are unlikely to reveal those records).
    Of course the practical challenges will include the fact that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (the latter remaining in the EU) will have to be manned in order to prevent EU citizens with free movement to the Republic using this border as a “back door” which in itself will provide some significant logistical issues.


    Sources of further information

    Openeurope.org.uk
    Migrationwatchuk.org

  33. Will immigration numbers come down?

    Brexit will make no difference to non-EU immigration, and it is likely that EU workers currently in the UK will be permitted to remain, at least for some time. Boris Johnson has said “ It’s absolutely clear that people from other European Union countries who are living here have their rights protected.”

    Future EU immigration could be reduced if we are prepared to accept limited access to the EU’s markets but if our new relationship with the EU involves full access to the single market, it is likely we will have to accept continued free movement of EU workers. (See question 19)

    If we do not sign up to full free movement the government could choose to extend the current non-EU points system to EU migrants, allowing in Tier 1 (highly skilled, entrepreneurs) and Tier 2 (skilled, graduate) immigrants while keeping out the unskilled. Current quotas in these categories would need to be substantially increased if businesses are not to suffer from skills shortages.

    The evidence suggests that on average EU migrants make a net contribution to public finances. However, this does not take account of the pressure that migration may place on housing, health services and education, already under strain as a result of the impact of the economic slowdown and the Government’s austerity programme.

  34. Will the EU citizens currently in the UK have to go home?

    There are approximately 3 million citizens of other EU countries living and working in Britain. With Brexit, they could lose the automatic right to work and live here, depending in what sort of trade deal we negotiate (as noted above at question 19, any deal giving us full access to the single market will be likely to require us to accept some form of free movement of workers). However, it is likely that whatever the outcome, transitional rules will be put in place enabling those already in the UK to remain here. The vast majority are contributing to the economy and in particular supporting public services like the NHS. Boris Johnson has been quoted saying “It’s absolutely clear that people from other European Union countries who are living here have their rights protected. All that people want to see is a system that’s fair, impartial and humane to all people coming from around the world”.

    Sources of further information

    Fullfact.org

  35. Will interest rates go up or down? What about inflation?

    The vote for Brexit has caused significant volatility in the markets - how long this effect will last will depend on the nature of the deal struck with the EU, how long that takes and what the market views as the prospects for the economy as a result.

    The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in its May meeting minutes said “A vote to leave the EU could materially alter the outlook for output and inflation, and therefore the appropriate setting of monetary policy. Households could defer consumption and firms delay investment, lowering labour demand and causing unemployment to rise. At the same time, supply growth is likely to be lower over the forecast period, reflecting slower capital accumulation and the need to reallocate resources. Sterling is also likely to depreciate further, perhaps sharply. This combination of influences on demand, supply and the exchange rate could lead to a materially lower path for growth and a notably higher path for inflation than in the central projections set out in the May Inflation Report. In such circumstances, the MPC would face a trade-off between stabilising inflation on the one hand and output and employment on the other.”

    In other words, the Bank of England has the scope to increase base rates to suppress the inflationary pressures but may be reluctant to do that as it will potentially damage business. 
     

    Sources of further information

    Bankofengland.co.uk

  36. What will happen to my pension and savings?

    State pensions are unlikely to change but private pensions and savings may be affected by the overall state of the economy and the performance of the stock market. Sterling and shares have been volatile in the run-up to and following the referendum but the long term impacts are much harder to forecast. In any event, many pension funds have large parts of their portfolio invested outside the UK precisely to avoid this kind of impact. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects deposits of up to £75,000 per banking licence and £50,000 at investment and mortgage firms. Compensation limits are harmonised across the EU and after Brexit the UK government could choose to implement higher or lower limits.

  37. Will taxes change?

    Any impact on tax rates will depend on the effect of Brexit on the overall economy. George Osborne has indicated that there will be no immediate “punishment budget” and no decisions on this will be taken until the new Prime Minister is in place.

    Brexit does have potential impacts on VAT.

    First, once the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer be subject to the EU’s VAT rules. The UK could today reduce VAT from 20% to 15%, the standard rate of VAT in the EU. But with some exceptions, such as energy, it can’t go below 15%. For those goods and services subject to special rules it can’t go below 5% without unanimous agreement. After Brexit the UK will be free to set its own VAT rules. However, it is unlikely that the government will abolish sales tax entirely because VAT generates a significant proportion of its annual tax revenue (around a fifth in 2013/14). It will however have more flexibility as to rates and could create new exceptions from VAT, such as removing the current 5% tax on household energy bills as proposed by the Vote Leave campaign. However, this would cost around £1.6 billion which would need to be funded and would take around a quarter of our net contribution to the EU (see question 14).

    Coming out of the EU VAT system will be likely to increase costs for UK businesses transacting with suppliers or customers in EU member states and having to apply different systems.

    Tax treatment could change for UK citizens living in the EU when they become non-EU citizens.


  38. When we took the pound out of the ERM house prices fell 5% - might house prices fall on Brexit?

    Data seems to show that house prices tend to fall before general elections and referendums but this is a short term impact and after the result they usually bounce back quickly. This assumes, however, that the result returns stability to the market. There have been suggestions that the continued uncertainty following a Brexit could deter inward investment into the UK market and therefore have a longer impact on prices and some developers have reported that buyers have withdrawn. However, the Independent has reported “ Estate agents in the UK have been swamped with calls from Chinese, Middle Eastern, Italian and Spanish buyers looking for a bargain after the pound tumbled to more than 30-year lows, making the exchange rate very favourable for foreign buyers.”

    A more significant effect at the lower end of the market might be a lack of investment in house building as a result of the overall weakness of the economy or shortage of supply of skilled construction workers, which will tend to put an upward pressure on house prices.

    Sources of further information

    KPMG survey claiming that 66 per cent of property industry people thought Brexit would have a negative effect on inward foreign investment in London property.

  39. Will we lose EU workers’ rights like working time limits and protecting workers when businesses change owners?

    After Brexit, depending on the nature of the deal negotiated by the UK, EU rules on workers’ rights such as holiday pay, parental leave and working time will be subject to change – it will then be up to the government of the day to decide whether to seek to reduce the burden on employers. Those in favour of Brexit argue that the UK has gone beyond EU rules in a number of areas such as maternity rights and will be perfectly capable of protecting workers’ rights going forward but unions appear less sure of this.

    Some health and safety measures applicable to workers might still be applicable depending on the terms of any new trade deal with the EU, to ensure UK manufacturers were on a level playing field with their European counterparts.

    Sources of further information

    cms-lawnow.com
    Strongerunions.org

  40. What impact will Brexit have on the UK citizens living and working in Europe?

    Estimates vary of the number of UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU – the UN figure is 1.2 million but the government uses a figure of 2 million. What happens to them will depend on the nature of the trade deal struck after Brexit. Those already living on the continent might benefit from some grandfathered rights but if we wish to restrict free movement of EU workers into the UK it seems likely that UK workers will face similar restrictions on working in Europe in future.

    Sources of further information
      
    Fullfact.org

  41. Will UK students still be able to study in Europe under the ERASMUS scheme?

    After Brexit, UK students might no longer have access to the Erasmus programme enabling them to study in Europe without paying fees. The number of UK students participating in Erasmus has risen steadily since 2006–07 and was over 14,000 in 2012–13. Erasmus is the single largest source of funding for UK students wishing to work or study abroad. Over 200,000 UK students and 20,000 UK university staff have spent time abroad through the Erasmus exchange programme. Universities UK argues that students who have done an Erasmus placement are 50% less likely to experience long-term unemployment than their counterparts who stayed at home.

    Of course, it also requires the UK to offer free places to EU students.

    After Brexit, we might be able to negotiate continued access to the scheme - although Switzerland has so far been denied access, UK institutions may be more desirable as potential destinations. If not, the government could impose charges for EU students to attend UK universities but the numbers will almost certainly fall and UK students will then face similar charges abroad.

    Sources of further information

    Universitiesforeurope.com

  42. Will I still get access to the latest medicines and clinical trials?

    The UK is likely to lose access to EU research funding, and to involvement in European clinical trials – this could impact the launch of new medicines in the UK and over time will be likely to damage the size and standing of the pharma and life sciences sector in the UK. (See question 25)

    Sources of further information

    cms-lawnow.com

  43. Will everyone need a new non-EU passport? When we go on holiday to Europe will we need a visa? 

    That depends on the nature of the deal negotiated by the UK. We might be all standing in the long queue to have our visa checked or we might have a visa-free arrangement. However, if we want to have more control over EU visitors to the UK for security reasons then it is likely we will be faced with reciprocal controls when going to Europe.

  44. Will we need health insurance or will we still be able to use our EHIC card?

    The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides a system for cardholders to access state provided healthcare while visiting another member state. A Brexit will potentially mean the end of the UK’s participation in this scheme. However, the scheme applies to EEA countries and to Switzerland, meaning that there is clearly scope for the UK to still be involved in the scheme depending on the terms negotiated with the EU.

    Under EU free movement law and social security regulations, workers and their family members residing in a Member State are entitled to all healthcare benefits provided for under the legislation of that State. After Brexit this entitlement to healthcare will potentially fall away. However, if the UK decided to join the EEA or put in place agreements such as the ones Switzerland has with the EU, it could still be covered by this legislation.

    The Cross-Border Healthcare Directive provides a right for a patient to seek healthcare in another member state and for that individual’s home member state to reimburse the cost for that healthcare, provided that this healthcare was within the benefits he could have received in his home state, and subject to prior authorisation. After Brexit, UK citizens will no longer have the benefit of this right to travel to another country to obtain planned healthcare. Conversely, citizens of other EU member states will no longer have the right to travel to the UK to obtain healthcare in this way. This directive only has effect in the EU and does not apply to EEA and Switzerland.

  45. Will the government still have to do something about dangerous levels of air pollution in cities?

    A study led by the University of Leeds, has found that about 80,000 deaths are prevented each year due to the introduction of European Union (EU) policies and new technologies to reduce air pollution.

    The Institute for European Environmental Policy has stated “Although pressure to meet EU legal obligations has been a key reason why London authorities have adopted several measures (congestion charging, low emission zone for HGVs, replacement strategies for the bus fleet, cycle hire, etc.), there are still many areas within the city where standards are not met. It seems unlikely that many (or even all) of these initiatives will have taken place without this legal pressure and such legal pressure would not have been exerted by UK standards purely on their own……In recent decades, the UK has tended to be more cautious than many Member States about tightening air quality standards. Outside of the EU and EEA, the UK might well be inclined either to relax them or fail to improve them if the Government was free to do so, representing therefore a significant risk to the health of UK citizens in major urban areas where meeting EU standards is currently a problem.”

    Pro-Brexit campaigners would point out that the UK would be free after Brexit to maintain the existing standards and there is no reason to think it would reduce them.

    Sources of further information

    Leeds.ac.uk
    Ieep.eu

  46. Will our beaches still be subject to the Blue Flag scheme?

    Yes, the Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation. It certifies that a beach, marina or tourism operator meets certain standards. The organisation covers 60 countries around the world so the UK could continue to belong to the scheme outside the EU.

  47. Will we go back to weighing fruit in pounds?

    Traders are currently required to use metric measurements (grams, kilograms, millilitres or litres) when selling packaged or loose goods in England, Scotland or Wales. You can display an imperial measurement alongside the metric measurement but it can’t stand out more than the metric measurement. There are some special exceptions for instance for draught beer or cider sold by the pint, and milk in returnable containers.

    After Brexit street traders might want to go back to offering apples and carrots in pounds but most manufacturers who export will continue to have to package their goods to meet EU requirements.

  48. Will air fares go up or down?

    After Brexit, the UK will also lose access to the single aviation market, unless that was part of a new free trade agreement reached with the EU – Easyjet has been quoted as saying “The single aviation area gives airlines freedom to fly across Europe, and since its introduction passengers have seen fares fall by around 40 per cent and routes increase by 180 per cent. The UK’s membership of the EU and the open access this provides is important to easyJet, so we will be helping to make the case for Britain to stay in.” However, the single aviation area is not confined to EU members so the UK could negotiate access as part of its exit arrangements and as Heathrow is a major hub, it seems likely that the EU will be keen to keep the UK as part of the arrangement.

    Sources of further information

    Abta.com

  49. Will I still get the same deal on my mobile phone when in Europe?

    After Brexit, UK mobile phone providers will no longer be subject to the EU’s rules on roaming charges which have brought down the cost of using your mobile in Europe dramatically. However, market forces may lead providers to retain the current charging structures now consumers have grown to expect them or the UK government could choose to replicate the EU rules.

    Sources of further information

    Abta.com

  50. Does the EU have plans to ban my kettle? 

    No, but in future, new kettles, hairdryers, toasters and other consumer electrical items may have to conform to eco-design regulations designed to improve their energy efficiency, as has already happened with dishwashers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Some of the most powerful models may need to limit their consumption. Even after Brexit, UK manufacturers are likely to comply with these rules so that they are able to export their products to the continent. The EU says that the existing labels and standards will result in “ an energy saving of around 175 Mtoe by 2020, roughly equivalent to the annual primary energy consumption of Italy. For consumers, this means a saving of €465 per year on household energy bills. Moreover, energy efficiency measures will create €55 billion in extra revenue for European companies.” However, in light of the British dedication to their cuppa, the plans regarding kettles were put on hold until after the referendum.

    Sources of further information

    Ec.europa.eu   

  51. Can we still take part in Eurovision?

    If Australia can, surely we can but how much more humiliation can we take after Euro 2016? Seriously, the EBU which runs Eurovision is nothing to do with the EU so Brexit will not affect our ability to participate in this annual ritual.