Brexit: the next steps

By Agata and Luke, BBC Young Reporters

Brexit is an issue which is very important to all residents of the United Kingdom. But how will this actually affect people and their everyday lives? Brexit is a serious matter which revolves around England leaving the European Union. In 2016 the government held a referendum to leave the European Union, the vote to leave was quite close with staying (52%, 48%).We have three options to choose from: to stay, to leave with no deal or to choose the current deal.

At this current time, the current deal is a 585-page document stating the legal agreements between Britain and the European Union created by Theresa May. In this document, it states everything from trade to the transition period.

The most controversial aspect of the current Brexit deal is the £39 billion ‘divorce bill’ that the European Union are charging us to pay back all of the debts that we owe them. However, many countries who are still in the EU currently owe us so much more than this. For example, according to figures from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) France, the second largest economy currently owes the UK in excess of €227 billion, Germany also owes the UK €141.1 billion and Spain also owes €74.9 billion. All of this combined is more than enough to pay for the divorce bill and so much more. At this date, many public services in the UK are under strain as they don’t have the funds to keep running whereas if these European countries payed off their debts then many services would be able to keep running and provide the support that the UK citizens really need.

Furthermore, many EU and British citizens are arguing about the new deal on trading within Europe. Many believe that businesses will be unable to keep running as many of their buyers are from within the EU and so if the new trade tariffs come into effect then many businesses will not be able to pay to trade with other businesses or buyers and so they may have to shut down. This leads to a decrease in the UK economy. One of the people we interviewed said that he didn’t support the current deal and said that “it will damage our trade” and looking at the statistics, the current economic situation is that the pound has fallen since we voted to leave.

The graph below represents how the pound compares the worth of the Pound to the Euro and at the moment it is at a constant low compared to what it was before we had the referendum as it peaked at around 1.43 Euros per Pound.

No deal means we decline the deal which Theresa May negotiated with the European Union. There would be no transition period which could damage relations between UK and the EU. This would mean that the government would not need to pay an annual fee of £13 billion to the European Union. This saved money could be used in the education system or healthcare. However, this would result in the European Union not giving England funding. There are many buildings inside the UK which have been funded by the EU, therefore it could be difficult to organise the money in terms of where it goes.

An obvious problem with no deal would be that EU hauliers may be less likely to travel to England and do business, as the EU has specific rules in place for trade and the UK would not need to follow these rules any more. This could damage trade routes which could result in a shortage of items in the UK. 8 out of every 10 lorries on English roads are from EU haulage companies. If EU hauliers refused to do business with UK after no deal, this could make prices of food, clothing and other items rise.

England has foreseen this problem, and to reduce the disturbance of business, they have allowed EU lorries to use their licences in the UK. A lot of business owners have been buying items in bulk, in case no deal comes forward. This means that nobody really knows what is going to happen. We interviewed a few people about how they think no deal will impact the UK. Mr. Williams said that he thinks “it would damage our trading and it would be disastrous” which shows that many people worry for the trade of UK after a possible no deal Brexit.

Three out of the five people we interviewed said they voted to remain, and two said they are stronger on their views to stay now. This small vote is similar to the referendum as all the votes are close to being half. The vote is very close on staying or leaving, however remain won in this vote, while of course leave won the real referendum.

The other option would be a second referendum to stay or remain. While this seems like a nice way to resolve Brexit, the issue with this would be that it breaks the idea of democracy. The majority has voted to leave, and therefore democracy says we need to leave. 39% of British people want a second referendum, but this would build uncertainty as to whether the EU would take the UK back. The EU would most likely refuse to take UK back, since for two years the UK has stuck with leaving.

A second referendum would cost around £129 million of taxpayers’ money, which many would disagree with. The EU and other countries could also see England as indecisive and therefore not trade with us, since UK would be seen as not finishing what it starts.

33% of British people said they support the current deal, 28% said they want a no deal Brexit therefore it would make sense to hold a second referendum with a 39% vote. However, if the government wouldn’t listen to the results of one referendum and listen to the results of a second referendum, this could result in fights between the people and the government.

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