DAVID Cameron has promised if he wins the next election, we will have an in or out referendum on our membership of Europe by 2017.
Hugely confusing, even to the brainiest politics scholars, reaction is mixed and has left people wondering what leaving the EU will actually mean.
The last few years have been especially tough for small businesses, without entrepreneurs having to worry about what will happen in four years.
We look at the consequences of bowing to Eurosceptics:
• Businesses would no longer have to adhere to the EU’s rules and regulations.
• We would no longer have to give temporary staff the same rights as regular employees, an EU directive, and the limit on hours you can work per week would be scrapped.
• There would also no longer be a cap on how long employees can work before they take have to take a break or holiday.
• Businesses’ energy bills could also fall as Britain would no longer have to meet Europe’s renewable targets, meaning cheaper power.
• UK companies would also be able to make export deals with other countries such as the US and Japan, without having to adhere to the EU’s tariffs.
• Currently we export and import most of our goods to and from Europe, making it our biggest single import/export market. If we leave the EU both the costs of export our goods and importing European goods could rise.
• Even though technically we wouldn’t have to make our goods in line with EU regulations, our exports would still have to comply with certain standards if we wanted them to be used in Europe– whether they be for road or food safety, or common global financial ones.
• A lot of small businesses also rely on migrant workers to supplement their workforce. Leaving the EU would mean suddenly these workers would have a lot harder time to remain legally in the UK causing a talent drain.
• Without Europe, Britain may return to a small island and with none of its former colonial glory it may be hard to command respect with, or compared to, new huge market forces such as China, Brazil and Nigeria.