Thursday, 10 March 2016

How will the EU referendum affect Britain's High Streets?

There has been much debate about our role in the EU and the upcoming referendum when the country decides whether we stay or leave.

There has been much scaremongering from both sides and it will continue up to and beyond the referendum. The latest has been the Prime Minister with a warning on businesses and jobs-

So how does this affect retail? What impact will it have on the High Street? Let's take a look.

EU grants
One of the overlooked areas when it has come to the debate has been the handouts that councils have been able to access for regeneration. Some depressed areas have spent you'd money well and turned terrible High Streets in to great shopping destinations. Leaving the EU would revive direct access to these grants and the U.K. Government would need to provide a replacement. If we are net contributors to the EU as we have been told by the 'Leave' campaign then this money could still be found to continue what has been good work in some areas.

Retail businesses
There has been some depressing statistics about the job situation over the next ten years recently anyway. It remains to be seen what a Brexit would mean to our retail industry and the future of our High Street but it doesn't appear that it will spark a massive change. The country is more than capable of quickly agreeing new trade deals with our current EU trading partners to keep open the lines of business. Therefore any worries about trade becoming more expensive should be allayed quite quickly.

There has been longstanding fears for job security in times of large level immigration. These fears are global at the moment with the exodus from Africa and the plight of people in Syria and the surrounding area. Leaving the EU won't diminish our responsibility to take in refugees but will give us control back over the one area of immigration that we can't do anything about as it stands - EU immigration. Because of the free movement of people within the EU we have people from all over the continent working in our country. In terms of culture and diversity it is a great thing. In terms of job security for British nationals it may have held back youth employment. I say may because it is difficult to put exact numbers in it. Only a Brexit will give us the chance to see what this will look like.

I don't have any strong feelings at the moment whether in or out is the right thing for the UK, but as time goes by and I listen to what has to be said then I will definitely be voting. Please make sure that you also take part in this important decision-making process.

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