Economic benefits of EU for UK
1. Free Trade with EU trading partners. Trade with EU countries now accounts for over 60% of UK’s trade (compared to 16% for US). This has helped create jobs in the export sector and is an important determinant of UK growth.
2. Lower prices for consumers. Free trade and increased competitiveness of the EU has enabled consumers to benefit from lower prices, at least for some goods.
3. Regional aid. Areas like S. Wales and the North East of England benefited from European regional grants which helped the local economy’s improve. However the UK no longer has any relatively deprived areas (after eastern countries entered)
4. Harmonisation of Rules and regulations: These have reduced costs for business.
5. EU rebate (negotiated by Mrs Thatcher) means that membership of the EU costs small percentage of GDP (0.4%)
6. Inward investment. The UK has been successful in attracting inward investment - helping to create jobs and economic growth. Many firms state that leaving the EU, would make them less likely to invest in the UK.
Economics costs of European Union for the UK1. Common Agricultural Policy has inflated prices of agricultural goods.
2. Common Agricultural Policy has been a major stumbling block in trade negotiations making it more difficult to reduce tariffs on UK exports. Thus some UK exporters have lost out as a result of EU’s protectionism in agriculture.
3. Common Agricultural Policy has tended to favour large farmers. Thus it has done nothing to reduce inequality within agriculture. The CAP has also tended to perpetuate inefficient farms. Although reforms to CAP have reduced the quantity of food surpluses there is still a significant % of the EU budget spent on subsidising inefficient farms.
4. Cost of bureaucracy and European parliament. Although the press have often exaggerated the real cost of the EU it remains an extra level of bureaucracy for the UK to deal with.
5. Free movement of labour has caused pressure on housing within the UK in certain cities like London. On the other hand immigrants from Eastern Europe have filled various job vacancies and played an important role in the economy.
6. Net contributor to EU budget. In 2014, net contribution is estimated at £9.9bn (ONS) or £7.1bn (EC). See more on methodology at Costs of EU