Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Mike Andrews LLB (Hons), LLM, Chief Executive Officer, The NAPIT Group

Mike Andrews LLB (Hons), LLM, Chief Executive Officer, The NAPIT Group

As Chief Executive of the NAPIT Group, a national organisation whose members are heavily invested in the UK economy, the upcoming EU Referendum is a highly important and intriguing issue with many factors to consider.

To delve into the subject further, we bring you a guest blog from the new and improved NAPIT Legal service. Legal Consultant, Richard Brackenbury, shares his thoughts…

If you’re expecting any flash of inspiration on Brexit from a Nottingham-based solicitor on one of the biggest issues of our generation, you will be disappointed! I had seen myself as part of the centre ground in the Brexit debate pulling out what remains of my hair waiting for sensible debate on the issue. In reality, I am about to become bald very quickly. So, a few personal thoughts.

I was initially undecided. I started to come off the fence reading a comment from a Brexiteer claiming that as England had managed to win two World Wars, it could stand being “independent” now. I nearly put my electronic pen to paper to point out that the USA’s economic and then military support together with Russian involvement might just have had something to do with it. I didn’t bother. But the fact that such a view clearly has a lot of support amongst the leavers worried me. And then I thought some more.

Richard Brackenbury, NAPIT Legal Consultant

Richard Brackenbury, NAPIT Legal Consultant

Having been self-employed developing an SME for most of my working life, I have “lived” the direct link between the economy and my business through many separate crises – most notably 2008. We all know SMEs are highly susceptible to changes in confidence whether from business or private customers. And, I have heard no one argue rationally that a “leave” vote will not lead to a period of uncertainty at best. That for me is the clincher. Add to that I have heard no credible economic view to contradict the Bank of England, the IMF, the World Bank and the majority of business leaders, then the economic case becomes compelling.

Of course, like all business owners, I’m concerned about red tape. I do not like bureaucracy. However, I’m old enough to remember when Britain was the “sick man of Europe” but that was at a time when no-one could blame the EU. Add to that the fact that Britain’s economy is stronger than most in Europe whilst we are actually part of the EU (a fact put down to our freer labour market); I begin to wonder what the fuss is about.

The same issues affect my thinking on immigration. I heard a sensible independent commentator saying that EU immigration was in fact much higher than expected but, more of those EU immigrants proportionately are in work than us “natives.” The reason we’re so popular is the economy and the jobs it offers rather than the state benefits. It’s common place about the jobs which such “immigrants” will take on rather than the indigenous population.

Then I thought, how many construction firms, particularly in the south of England, can now manage without EU staff? And what do we think will happen to construction wage rates if the EU labour tap is turned off? Like it or not, we live in a connected world and we just don’t have the option of pulling up the drawbridge. And, as part of a larger world grouping, we stand a chance of influencing the forces that bring about non EU mass migration. Alone, we have much less chance of doing so.

You would expect me as a lawyer to be concerned about sovereignty. You would be right. But, at the level at which I have operated over my working life, the influence of the EU on legislation has usually been very positive. Think of equality laws, employment, health and safety – I’m pretty confident the strides in Society’s attitudes would not have been anything like as great without EU influence.

So, is the EU perfect? Of course it’s not. Do I think there’s an inflated, over paid bureaucracy in Brussels that needs to have its wings clipped? Yes I do. And it seems, so does quite a lot of Northern Europe. But I’m also convinced that walking away from the progress we’ve made as an economy will create huge uncertainty and that uncertainty is always bad news. So, is it worth cutting ourselves adrift? No.


The views expressed in the above article are the writer’s opinions only and do not represent the views of NAPIT as an organisation.

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    David Elgood
    17th June 2016 at 12:51 am

    I don’t know where you live, but in wokingham you try getting to see a doctor. You try getting your child into a local school. Where are getting your information from. You have spoken many words but said nothing. Once again you have spoken doom and gloom, uncertainty works both ways. We have been in the EU but cannot change how it is run. We know it does not work, we cannot fix it start again. Move on the World is not the EU

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    David Elgood
    17th June 2016 at 12:55 am

    The labour from the EU is flooding the market. We as electricians have to jump through hoops. The labour from the EU don’t.

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    Gary pettifer
    17th June 2016 at 5:55 pm

    That is interesting as I have firsthand knowledge of the “skilled” work coming from Eastern Europe, and must assume napit and all other electrical, gas, plumbing and other building services regulators/inspectors have as well a colleuge of min in the Thames Valley had to isolate a domestic property as the “qualified” Eastern European electrician had done such bad work he had to condemn the whole installation.
    You also as so many people in your position mention the wage situation, no one appears to mention the fact that the wages paid for the work is actually not an amount that is able to support a family, some of these workers are living in overcrowded conditions in squalid places so they can send money back to their families…..WE ACTUALLY LIVE HERE, WHERE BORN HERE AND MOSTLY STAY HERE so have the costs of living here in a normal family environment, also who is looking out for the rights of these people obviously not the employers as they have a very nice work pool that undercuts the local indigenous work pool and makes them…..PROFIT….
    I think we all need to look a lot harder at the EU problem it’s not just about work or security or pay or even being a part of something. It’s about our lives families and our country.
    The other bee in my bonnet is the remainders keep saying we are not paying £358M into the EU as some comes back, will this money however much suddenly vanish from the economy if we come out, will the government stop paying farmers, schools, NHS if they do vote them out……can’t do that with the Eurocrats as they are not voted in. Wife says get off the soapbox and my tea is ready.

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