Should the UK stay in the EU?

In the wake of David Cameron’s spectacular announcement regarding the 2017 EU referendum, debate regarding the UK’s European Union membership has become far more fervent and widespread. It can be said that there are reasonable arguments on both side of the proverbial coin, however when the British voter comes to cast their vote in 2017, there will only be two possible responses to the title of this article, “Yes”, or “No”. Although opinion polls seem to suggest that most are leaning towards the “No” vote, I am a contrarian in this case and suggest that membership of the European Union provides substantial benefits to the country, which far outweigh the costs. In truth, many arguments against EU membership lie solely on the migration issue, but in actuality, this is a boon for the UK and not a curse.

The free movement of people between borders in the EU, that is so often cited as detrimental by Eurosceptics, actually has factual basis for being beneficial to the country. In fact, immigration to the UK has made its economy far more flexible. Job shortages in the labour market such as cleaning jobs, for example, have been filled by many Eastern Europeans, for example Poles, coming into the UK. The commonly used stereotype, that all Eastern Europeans take advantage of the benefit system, has been definitively proven to be an absurd claim. This is shown by the fact that immigrants from Eastern Europe pay 12% (around £5 billion) more in taxes than they claim in benefits. Once we get beyond the xenophobia that a minority of the general populace have towards Eastern Europeans, for example, it is clear to see that they bolster the economy, rather than shrink it.

The European Union has also introduced regulation to the UK that makes it far easy for small businesses to start up. The regulation that has been put in place makes it far cheaper for small businesses to emerge from the ground, enabling them to employ more people, and grow the economy through the positive multiplier effect. Innovation within an economy is also stimulated, as more people with innovative and revolutionary ideas have the motivation to start a business. The low cost of exports that comes from being within the EU also is another factor that may persuade one to start up a small business, as exports can constitute a large portion of the revenue of a business. In addition, membership of the EU makes it healthier for the consumer, with 52% of CBI members thinking that common product standards across the EU are a positive, including 50% of SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises).

After the migration argument, the most commonly used assertion propagated by Eurosceptics to back up their point is that the UK pays far too much to the EU. In fact, the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget is around €7.3 billion, or 0.4% of  their GDP. According to the CBI, that is around a quarter of what the UK spends on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and less than an eighth of the UK’s defence spending.  The £116 per person net contribution is less than that from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands. Therefore, considering that the EU gives funds to the UK in conjunction, the fundamental economic cost of the EU to the UK is massively overstated and is in fact miniscule. In addition, when we take into account the amount the EU helps the UK with migration, my answer to the question “Should the UK stay in the EU?” would be a resounding yes. In my humble opinion, the average Eurosceptic these days does not realise the massive global markets which the EU opens the UK up to, and without the EU, the UK may never be the same.

By Shrey Srivastava

A finance and economics enthusiast, and someone who wants to share his views with the world.


  1. I agree with a lot of things in this article…however.

    Immigrants all over benefit loads in Britain as you said, but what we’re no tapping on is the illegal immigrants, the ones who DO take advantage. If we’re going to stay in the EU, I think it’s best we do our own rules, finding the best qualities that people from abroad can offer.

    When 2017 comes and votes are cast and say “No”, I think it’s only right the EU grants us that specific power, without going completely alone.


    1. Thanks for the comment Harry 🙂 I agree with your point that perhaps we should be more selective with who we let in. Hopefully David Cameron is successful in his negotiations 🙂


      1. Hi Shrey :-).

        Let’s hope Cameron can solve it, because Britain is steadfastly going down the shitter. I mean, what’s happened to pure British values? Virtually non-existent. The EU is heavy force that we need to firmly lift.

        Aside from that, how long does it take you to research and write your articles? I’m interested, because when I write my topics, it takes me ages to finalise everything — even if I have all the info.


      2. I’m a bit pedantic when it comes to writing. But the good sides, it is rather satisfying. I think English exams are torture though, as you’re time is so limited you don’t have an immediate starting point. I don’t about you though, I like the time to plan and stretch the ideas thenceforth — exams are too pressurised these days.


  2. I agree that the UK is best remaining in the European Union when the benefits such reduced export costs outweigh the disadvantages, so I too will be voting Yes when 2017 comes. This post is a great summary of the advantages of staying in the EU and can’t wait for any potential future posts regarding the matter, you have gain a new follower!

    -Georgina (1 of the 2 Young Economists)


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