Wednesday, 12 October 2016

UK: Is it worth losing the EU Single Market over 800,000 workers?

Reading the recent Brexit related speeches by May, Rudd and Davis an informed reader cannot help wondering what the anti free movement fuss is all about.

Stats show that only 2.1 million foreign nationals in the UK are a result intra EU free movement ie EU nationals. That is around 30% of total migrants and a mere 3% (roughly) of the population.

Plus according to stats, at least 1.3 million UK nationals live in the rest of the EU.  That means a net "import" of maximum 800,000 workers as a result of the UK's participation in the four freedoms of the EU Single Market.

The benefit is tariff and quota as well as customs free access of UK goods and services to the Single Market, for goods a 42% of total UK exports. Never mind the benefits of the City as part of the Single Market for capital. Add to that the urge for companies to leave a non Single Market UK and you have a clearer picture of free movement costs and benefits.

Thus the UK can well leave the EU and still be in the Single Market via the EEA or if Norway vetoes it via a special deal.

The rest (the non EU) migration has nothing to do with EU membership or the Single Market one.

This is a point that soft Brexit proponents need to keep reminding the government as well as the UK public opinion not only before Article 50 is triggered but also during the negotiations.

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