A considerable proponent of the student body here in Manchester hail from the Eurozone. In the absence of an integrated, single system, we may see a significant reduction in the Mainland Europe student intake into Manchester universities.
The Union, with Europe, under which free trade and student visa arrangements between participating member states encapsulates the current ease of visa processing, in what is an otherwise strictly controlled immigration state lying outside of the Schengen Zone. Short term consequences of a British 'NO to Europe' vote in the June referendum may mark a swift drop off in the number of university applications from Europe for fears of insecurity, opaqueness and potential loss of funding.
The steady flow of immigrant students, most of whom are young and keen to work, fuels economic growth and helps pay for public services. These higher fees and wider attendance enable the gentrification of city centres with university complexes.
Grants from respective governments are often a lifeline to students on bursaries or funding in order for them to study in the world's sixth most expensive currency economy. The Scandinavian countries, with widely integrated welfare systems, tend to offer their prospective students planning to study abroad figures in the region of £750-1000 a month on top of £14,000 tuition fees prepaid and £6000 accommodation covered. For any given international student this may not seem as though it contributes significantly to our economy. However, add up the 100,000s who study within the UK from abroad and the financial figure soon builds.
London and Partners estimate the net contribution of foreign students to our economy at around £3 Billion and 37,000 jobs while PwC £2.3Bn.
Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
The UK is one of 10 member states who pay more into the EU budget than they get out – only France and Germany contribute more. In 2014/15, Poland was the largest beneficiary, followed by Hungary and Greece.
The UK also gets an annual rebate that was negotiated by Margaret Thatcher, in the form of regional development grants and payments to farmers, which added up to £4.6bn in 2014/15. Britain’s part in international projects is protected regardless of the single market relationship. However, €6.8bn in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 is at risk should we leave.
Much of this funding is poured into projects in the north of England. The decline of the northern powerhouse development funding may depend on a number of tough decisions in the UK and Europe. This includes whether the EU itself will embrace reform and whether UK politicians and voters are willing to usher Britain into the deregulated, free trading economy it would need to become outside the EU.
According to the latest Treasury figures, the UK's net contribution for 2014/15 was £8.8bn - nearly double what it was in 2009/10. To put that in context, it is about £24m a day or about 1.4% of total public annual spending - slightly less than the energy and climate change department's annual budget.
However, the student body from the EU comes to the rescue in style. The National Audit Office, using a different formula which takes into account EU money paid directly to private sector companies and universities to fund research, and measured over the EU's financial year, shows the UK's net contribution for 2014 was £5.7bn.
The demographic stance
Younger people are expected to vote to remain in the EU, while older voters tend to favour out. But as a general rule, older people are more likely to vote in elections than younger people
When shall we expect the campaigns?
Ultimately, the economic impact of Brexit is not as clear cut as to the direction it shall take on. However the official campaign period is from 15 April to 23 June, providing the critical window for both sides to air their proposals and views.
Who is in control of the ship?
Currently, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, stands as the intermediary banking middle man for delegation and dispersion of monetary contributions. He delegates funds into regeneration and development projects within the EU with reserves breaching €526 Billion at his disposal.
A considerable stake of member contributions floods toward Eastern European infrastructure and capital investment programs. While the UK receives trickling measures into the northern regions to pursue similar policies. However, were the UK to leave, this short term financing for investment expenditure may well dry up for cities such as Manchester.
Westminster may well be forced to cut back further to contain the budget and currency account deficits expanding. In pursuing said policy, the likely consequence would be to reign in public finances to councils and constituencies up and down the country.
This course of action would lead to Manchester being stifled of vital funding to secure its future as a cosmopolitan, services based, financial and trading hub to rival that of London for contributions to overall GDP.
The potential in going solo
Britain will only prosper outside the EU if it is prepared to use its new found freedom to undertake active steps towards trade liberalisation and deregulation. The EU is not inherently free trade and mutual cooperation, it simply provides a framework for these desirables. This is a framework that can be replicated with many countries and regional blocs.
On the contrary, EU directives are often considered a hindrance to real negotiation with the emerging powers. China, Malaysia and Indonesia have all voiced confidence they would arrange new mutually beneficial deals with the UK. Exclusion from the EU directives would not necessarily impinge on Britain's expansionary progress for the existence of outside trading partners. The historical lineage of the UK as head of the Commonwealth and the long standing special relationship with America render not being able to establish trade links outside the EU as improbable. More plausibly the fear mongering has got the better of us.
Opening up the UK economy to trade with the rest of the world – including the USA, India, China and Indonesia – is essential to economic growth post-Brexit. However, this would mean exposing UK firms and workers to whole new levels of competition from low-cost countries, and would therefore be politically very sensitive.
One such conjecture to premeditated departure is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - TTIP for short - currently under negotiation between the EU and United States. The precedent would set the most expansive trading bloc the world has ever witnessed generating alleged benefits to the tune of £10 Billion a year for Britain. Would we lose out on this arrangement should we leave as result of our diminished collective bargaining power? Unlikely is perhaps the suitable response.
Jeremy Corbyn voiced his concerns to Parliament over a world outside the EU. He notes a further shift in power away from National government toward corrupt, warped, mutant multinational corporation capitalism would create a precedent for further proliferation.
In addition to business turmoil, Brexit may undermine public services, deteriorate food standards with American permitted chemicals used in food production toxic to humans. For instance, many American food exports currently violate EU health and safety standards for pesticide and fungicide pollutants, antibiotic resistant bacteria and rbST (recombinant bovine growth hormone).
Corbyn voiced the potential harm to basic rights of a stable job environment and protection from poorly regulated markets outside the EU. For instance, the poisonous Corona beer scam and fake faulty chainsaws from China injuring users from chain recoil and snapping.
Critics acknowledge the process is already underway and insuppressible regardless of Britain's outcomes. That to avoid the opportunity based on some forgone moral principles we once held was to linger in the past occluded from the economic benefits accessible to our country.
Jeremy Corbyn notes a further shift in power away from National government toward corrupt, warped, mutant multinational corporation capitalism would create a precedent for further proliferation.
A Liberal policy for labour migration?
Amongst those voters who want to leave the EU, a majority rank limiting free movement and immigration as their main motivation, meaning the UK may move in the opposite direction to opening up on leaving Union.
"Red tape" within the EU may well amount to no more than euphemism for employment rights and environmental protection. Working Time Directives and the temporary agency workers directive restrict working hours and the capacity for firms to hire and fire with ease.
Leaving the EU may improve job market efficiencies, in particular labour productivity. Alternatively, it may lead to further discrimination of certain worker demographics, such as disabled or black minorities, by the fraternity style business environment.
Excusing ourselves from the table
Article 50 is the only established legal way to leave the EU, yet it is a major liability. Once triggered, there is no turning back. Article 50 excludes the UK from key decisions as well as the final vote for a minimum period of 2 years. The EU sits at the helm of the timetable during the negotiations phase. Following this spell, the UK could be presented with a ‘take it or leave it’ deal. Speculation and trends have shown that leaving arrangements without a preferential trading agreement would dent British GDP significantly.
Given the difficulty in leaving the EU and the extent of the political and economic challenges the UK would need to overcome to make Brexit work in its long-term interests, it would be foolhardy to leave without first testing the limits of EU reform. Limiting the areas of EU interference and further market liberalisation would be the most beneficial option for both the UK and the EU, though critiques have argued that were Britain to expend the same energies into reforming the EU as it is to Brexit potential, both would be far better off.
In the meantime, we sit a second fiddle at the table pledging £24 million net a day to inefficient glacial bureaucracy. In the context of an increasingly globalised world, bloc trade arrangements have become necessary to stifle this progression toward further integration and openness. The USA and Europe, if TTIP goes ahead, may merely reflect another step forward in the process of wider amalgamation that prevents us from going any further.
The lack of distinct clarity from our government's competence and aptitude at the negotiation table pushes my disposition to side more with the 'YES' to Union. The negative repercussions in leaving on poor terms with EU jurisdiction for a further two years would incur considerable short term pain and significant job losses.
Union represents on another level the opportunity of a support platform given we are not the same power we once were in the days of Imperial rule and collective Commonwealth identity. This is aptly summarised by Lord Alfred Tennyson in Ulysses: "We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven...made weak by time and fate."
On a final note, in an environment without bounding constraint nor regulation from a higher supranational body we expose ourselves to the mercy of our own government. In a developed and liberal economy as Britain one should have no immediate cause for concern you say.
For those who remain indecisive and ambivalent, remain under no disillusionment that big money is at play in the decision making process. Take Rupert Murdoch, the last Tycoon Media Mogul owner of The Times, BSkyB and The Sun, on his Brexit position: "When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice." TMM