Categories
Analysis

Brexit – Another issue that the British Government must resolve?

Brexit, as many will know, is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, a motion that has caused a dramatic divide within the British Public, one that will not be healed for many years to come, due to the overwhelmingly negative economic impacts of the deal. As the LSE Blogs correctly states, “The more the UK distances itself from the EU’s economic institutions and policies, the greater the increase in trade barriers and the higher will be the costs of Brexit.” It is debateable as to whether the British government can afford the cost of Brexit, especially when this economic crisis has been exacerbated by the current pandemic, which has caused irreparable damage to the British economy.  When discussions about leaving the European Union sparked, the HM treasury analysis on the immediate economic impacts concluded that within just two years: the GDP (gross domestic product) of the UK would decrease by at least 3%; Britain would experience a year of negative growth, placing the country into a recession and most importantly, over half a million of jobs would be lost. Knowing this, why did the British government go forth and encourage this plan of action? Many would argue that this was a simple answer . Polls conducted by the British government concluded that those who voted ‘Leave’  believed “the principle that decisions about the UK should be made in the UK’ and that leaving ‘offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders’, a social, economic and political issue that had been debated in parliament for many years. But how has Brexit changed these immigration laws? Previously, EU laws stated that one of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens was the free movement of workers. This meant that workers could move to a country within the EU, with his/her family, taking up another job within said country. This was a key issue that the majority of the British public opposed. When Britain left the EU on December 31st 2020, the government finally put an end to the act of free movement, via the Immigration Bill.  As stated on the governments website, the Bill consists of 7 clauses and three schedules which apply to entire UK population. While the Bill would repeal free movement in UK law, it would not set up the future UK immigration system. The future system will be implemented in the Immigration Rules. Although this movement would potentially create jobs for the British public, it is not without its economic challenges. A study conducted by Warwick Business School concluded that the UK economy relies on migrants, many of which fill low-skilled, but necessary jobs around the country. Migrants from the 10 central and eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 made a net contribution of almost £5billion to the UK economy in a decade- money that the UK government cannot afford to lose in such pressing times. The economists who conducted the study claimed that the South East would be the hardest hit due to the fact that 35% of all UK migrants live in London.  The WBS website states that “the Government could have to abandon austerity and its cap on housing benefits to convince people to move from the north to the south of the UK, or introduce more draconian benefit sanctions to force workers to relocate” in order to accommodate for the loss of the working immigrants. Now that Brexit has “resolved” the important conflict of immigration laws that the British government opposed so strongly, it is up for debate as to whether the UK citizens are relieved and still agree that leaving the EU was the best plan of action for Britain.

Leave a Reply