Today marks the 100 day countdown to the European referendum. I recently participated in the Sage EU Debate with host Ian King Live Sky News inside of The Shard. One hundred Sage customers were ready with questions about how an ‘in’ or ‘out’ vote would impact them. Taking their questions on the panel were Anna Soubry, Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise; John Mills entrepreneur, founder and Chairman of JML; Emma Jones, small business expert, author, and founder of Enterprise Nation; and Craig Beaumont, Head of External Affairs, Federation of Small Businesses.
One of the most interesting points was raised by Anna Soubry, who asked those in attendances which EU Regulations were negatively impacting their business. The room was silent. “We have to be careful of urban myths about EU regulations” said Anna Soubry. Interestingly, John Mills mentioned some of these with his statements on ‘immigrants relying on the state’. By the end of the Sage EU debate, the undecided had moved from 32% to 24% which was a result.
My Experience of the EU
As a women I have experienced the benefits Europe has given women rights and to be honest I do not trust the Tories who have not demonstrated a care for gender and racial issues beyond the usual platitudes.
As a business person although some of the legislation from Europe can be a little unpalatable, on the whole these are for the benefit of the majority rather than the minority. An example is the EU Late payments legislation has been positive for UK small businesses among many others directives.
The fact is, we can only speculate on the effect to the economy of Brexit. There are specified economic risks in the short and medium term; Brexit does not easily pass any cost-benefit analysis. Neither side can confidently make claims of the apparent benefits since trade is only one driver of growth and prosperity. What we do know is that they will be a severe and uncomfortable adjustment to our policies which will have an effect on our currency, an impact on trade and investment and will de-stabilise our economy and therefore threaten individual job security.
A FT article states “The issue of whether a post-Brexit UK would have a heavier burden of regulation rather than being freed from the EU’s bureaucratic yoke remains deeply contentious. Brexit supporters acknowledge that the UK’s regulations are often wider ranging and more restrictive than the EU rules on which they are based – a habit known as gold plating”.
Looking at these issues, I do not think the negative affect of being part of the EU out-ways the many positives.
The Real Question
When I have had discussion with those in favour of Brexit, essentially the real issue is the question ‘where sovereignty should reside?’ Yes it makes sense that the UK Parliament should be the supreme legal authority in the UK, however, we live in a global economy and I do not believe that we can prosper in an inter-connected world as ‘me, myself and I’. This just does not sit with my values, so I will be voting to remain in the EU.
What are your views?