Should we stay or should we go?

On 23 June 2016 the UK will decide whether to stay in or leave the EU. The whole debate on this important issue has been rumbling on for a long time now, however, the end is in sight. As I write this, it seems the remain (or stay) campaign is pushing ahead in the polls. Some have those in favour of staying in the EU ahead by as much as 12% and most have it at least 7% ahead. The odd poll does have it equal or even with leave 1% – 2% ahead, but the average of the polls never has support for leaving the EU ahead. Despite all this, we are all well aware that the polling methods aren’t always reliable and we have seen this at the last general election.

What is clear when speaking to people and listening to the debate is the feeling that there is a lack of reliable information on which to base an informed decision upon. Whilst this article does not seek to influence or suggest which way one might want to vote, it will at least bring together some of the most notable arguments on the various issues to help better understand what is claimed to be at stake, for us all.

One of the most difficult things seems to be putting numbers around the argument. There is no doubt that there would be an immediate saving. Full Fact say that, without rebate the saving could be around £18bn per annum, but with it, it’s more like £13bn per annum. When you knock off £4.5bn of EU spending on the UK, you get a net contribution of £8.5bn. The net contribution saved according to the leave campaign is more like £15.7bn. Regardless of which figure you go off, it’s very unclear as to whether or not the advantages brought about by the membership outweigh the known costs. The reality is we just won’t know that unless we do come out of the EU, and it’s this uncertainty which the stay campaign will push.

The following table I feel pulls together the most important points brought out in the debate, on both sides, and will hopefully help you when considering which way you will vote.

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