The arguments for leaving the EU, forging a new and mutually beneficial relationship with our European partners and charting a new course for Britain in a world of new challenges and opportunities are as strong as ever:
Sovereignty and Democracy – the MPs we elect to our own Parliament should be the ones who make our laws. In the EU, laws initiated by an unelected Commission and not voted for by a single British MEP become law. Upon leaving, we will be taking back powers over many areas of our national life that been reserved by the EU for many years.
Immigration – In the EU, we cannot control unlimited immigration from the EU, which puts pressure on stretched public services and housing. When we leave, British people (regardless of the level of immigration they believe to be correct) will have the ability, through our own elected government, to control the number of people who enter the UK every year.
Trade deals – we will be able to negotiate and sign our own, fairer, trade deals with countries around the world, including the United States, China, Japan, India, Russia, Argentina, Brazil and many others, including developing nations. These will be in our national interest, not the interests of 27 other different economies. We also do not currently enjoy true ‘free trade’ with the EU as we have to pay huge contributions to the EU budget, which effectively work out as a tariff!
Regulation – Only around 5% of companies in the UK trade with the EU. However, 100% of UK companies, whether large or small, exporters or merely local businesses, have to follow EU rules and regulations. Outside of the EU, only companies that trade with Europe will have to follow its rules, just as in the same way that companies that trade with the US, Japan or any other country have to follow its rules.
Finances – we currently have to contribute vast sums to the EU. We do get some of our own money back, but only after the EU has taken its big administrative fee and told us precisely what they will spend our money on, including huge signs saying “Paid for by the EU”! British universities and charities complaining they will be deprived of EU funds are forgetting that we are being bribed with our own money! As for the rest, it is spent on wasteful aid projects in other countries over which we have no control.
Security and Justice – All British citizens are currently subject to the European Court of Justice, sitting in Luxembourg, and interpreting EU, not British law. That court can overrule all British courts. An EU-wide criminal code is being introduced piecemeal, which includes the European Arrest Warrant. This subjects British citizens to standards of justice which in most cases is far below our own and may contravene hard won British rights.
Some more detail?
Fisheries – Where once British fishermen controlled British waters (65 per cent of what Brussels now claims as EU waters), all EU countries can now be allocated quotas. As result the UK has lost over 150,000 jobs and fishing communities have been decimated. Outside of the EU, we will regain our territorial waters and control fishing within them while ending harmful policies like discarding the catch
Farming – The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) disadvantages British farmers through subsidy allocation and overregulation. Outside the EU, Britain will be able to address these imbalances and introduce a fairer subsidy scheme in line with our own needs and priorities.
Financial industry – New regulations such as MiFiD II that are being introduced in 2018 will impose expensive and unnecessary regulations on banks and other financial institutions, making it harder for new competitors to enter the market. In every area of financial services, innovation is being held back by EU regulations, many of which are specifically designed to limit British success. So far the EU has imposed over 50 directives on our financial services industry. Out of the EU, we can simplify these, whilst retaining important protections for savers and borrowers.
Ports – The EU’s one-size-fits all approach to port regulation will harm British ports. Outside of the EU, British ports will not suffer regulatory threats and also thrive as we agree new free trade agreements around the world. This will also help revive ports based in the rest of the UK that traditionally played a greater role in UK trade.
Immigration – the EU clings to its notion of so-called ‘four freedoms’ and does not respect the right of countries to limit the number of people it can take in. This is enshrined in its treaties, which can only be changed if every country in the European Union agrees. This means that just one leader from one other country can, and will, stop us from changing our immigration laws, as they did when David Cameron led his now infamous renegotiation.
State Aid rules – In many cases the British government, should it wish to, cannot support a struggling British business, as that would harm their EU competitors. All large government contracts must be open to EU-wide competition, which means that UK businesses cannot be prioritised for UK deals! Outside of the EU, our elected governments will have the power to make these decisions in the national interest.
Defence – Britain is the only major European country to be spending 2% of GDP each year on our security and defence, and the only European country to be part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence agreement with the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, the biggest intelligence sharing relationship in the world. Only by being outside the EU can we be sure that our military will not be drawn into commitments like PESCO that potentially undermine these vital NATO relationships.
Tax – When the UK joined what was then the EC, VAT replaced purchase tax on 1st April 1973. VAT is thus an EU tax, not a British one, and 5% of the levy is paid by us directly to the EU as part of our annual contributions. Upon leaving the EU, should we wish to, we can replace VAT with a better system.
Energy – Membership of the EU has increased the price of energy for businesses, families and public services. Without EU regulations the price of energy would fall.