What are the arguments in favour of Brexit?



As a fairly typical UK citizen, with a partner, children, job, mortgage, etc., what benefits can I expect to experience over the next five years as a result of the UK leaving the EU?

I'm aware of several definite down sides (e.g. losing the right to live and work in the EU, losing the right to vote in EU elections, etc.) and a whole multitude of potential downsides (less staff for the NHS, less food that is lower quality and more expensive, etc.), and a handful of less likely but possibly critical, state-level failures (return of the Troubles, or NI opting to leave UK and join RoI, Scotland voting for independence, etc.). In the interests of forming a balanced and optimistic view of the future, I'm keen to understand what good things will happen. I'm particularly keen to find out about the things that are even better than we have already as members of the EU that will compensate for the things that we will lose.

I'm not interested in speculative things that might happen 25 or 50 years in the future, rather what will definitely happen, or even probably happen, during the next few years that I will personally experience as a good result of the UK leaving the EU?

Evil Dog Pie

Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 969

1Regarding the close votes, I think you could avoid the charge of "opinion based" by rephrasing from "what will...?" to "what might...?" or "what arguments are offered in favor...?" – phoog – 2019-03-26T17:46:19.623

Comments deleted. Please don't try to answer the question in the comments. – Philipp – 2019-03-26T22:47:36.317

2Agreed with phoog. "What are the benefits" is primarily opinion-based because people disagree both about what the likely results are and about whether those results are benefits, neutral, or drawbacks. Asking something more along the lines of "What arguments are offered in favor of" is much more definitively answerable and much less opinion-based. The latter type of questions tend to get much better answers on this site as a result, at least in my experience. – reirab – 2019-03-27T05:31:18.520

@phoog My wording was chosen to meet point 1 (Matters of Policy) in the on-topic section of the help page. https://politics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

– Evil Dog Pie – 2019-03-27T08:23:54.547

@reirab The purpose of my question was to eliminate all of the opinion based or speculative answers, in the hope of identifying something concrete. I.e. what WILL happen that is definitely a benefit and not someone's opinion. It may be that the correct answer is that there are no effects that everyone would find to be a benefit. – Evil Dog Pie – 2019-03-27T08:27:01.553

1@EvilDogPie While you may have chosen "will" in an effort to avoid the opinion issue, that choice turns the question into a request for predictions of the future, and therefore has rather the opposite effect. (A strict reading of point 1 also suggests that it refers to policies that have actually been introduced, not prospective policies that might be introduced.) In response to your comment addressed to reirab, I would suggest that the non-opinion-based answer is "nobody knows definitely what will happen," which is of course very unsatisfying. – phoog – 2019-03-27T14:17:43.213

@EvilDogPie Even if someone did know exactly what the results will be (which, for the most part, they don't, especially since a particular deal hasn't been agreed upon yet) whether something is "definitely a benefit" is purely a matter of opinion. One man's downside is another man's benefit. For example, removing the UK from the freedom of working in any part of EU is a downside to UK citizens who want to work on the continent, but an upside for UK citizens who work in the UK and now have less competition for their job. Of course, it's a downside for UK companies, due to less cheap labor. – reirab – 2019-03-27T15:28:01.603

@EvilDogPie Similarly, the UK not having to abide by the newly-passed EU copyright rules is a downside for certain content owners, but a benefit to people who like the free flow of information on the Internet. – reirab – 2019-03-27T15:31:13.227

2@phoog reirab Thanks for the feedback. I understand your reasons for this question being primarily opinion based. I will think about whether I can reword it in some way as to require more concrete answers. – Evil Dog Pie – 2019-03-27T15:56:41.193

1@EvilDogPie Sounds good. If you do decide to go with something along the lines of "what arguments are offered in favor" or something like that where it dramatically changes the question being asked (even if it's for the better,) I might recommend asking it as a new question, so that answers addressing the new question won't be buried beneath 12 existing answers. – reirab – 2019-03-27T16:02:06.760

The short-term benefit of Brexit : The European Union has regained the popularity and credibility is had lost in the pre-brexit years. Remember back in 2015, the EU was seen as incredibly arrogant, inflexible and self-sufficient. Today it's the brits who loost their credibility and the EU looks much better in comparison. – Bregalad – 2019-03-28T18:30:35.767



In decreasing order of certainty:

  1. If you work (or intend to work) in a field dealing with border/customs/phytosanitary etc., Brexit may have new job opportunities.

  2. If your job/income was somehow threatened by potential immigrants from the EU, it might be less so.

  3. If national legislation on environment or other business regulations gets streamlined relative to the EU-inherited one, you might benefit if you're in a business that can take advantage of that streamlining.

  4. If you work in a field that the UK government will be more protectionist of (in terms of imports), you might make more money.

  5. Something similar for subsidized exports.

Those last two or three items are more contingent on no-deal Brexit, in which the UK will be completely unencumbered by EU with any sort of customs union sooner.

As you can see I can't envisage unconditional benefits. If you look at the reasons why people voted for Brexit, you'll see that my 3 & 4 are based on that. I'm not sure if "not sending money to the EU" (another reason why some voted for Brexit) will translate into any personal financial benefits, given the potential for an economic downturn that might offset any gains from that non-contribution. But one could phrase that as a conditional benefit as well.

The elephant in the room is of course how will British economy react (in the short run, since this is focus of the OP's question) to whatever flavor of Brexit passes. Unless you choose to trust the arch-Brexiteers' positive forecasts, the prognostic from more established sources is negative, e.g. Standard & Poors predicted UK recession until 2020 in case of a no-deal Brexit

S&P's analysis sees a recession lasting four to five quarters should there be no deal before the exit date on 29 March.

It sees the economy shrinking 1.2% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020, and returning to only moderate growth the following year so that by 2021 economic output would still be 5.5% lower than in the event of an "orderly exit and transition period".

Of course analysts aren't infaillible. But in this case I haven't heard from a non-politicized body saying UK will shrug it off.


Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 76 605

Thanks, that's an interesting study, particularly that the Leave voters were more sympathetic to the Remain voters' concerns than the other way. (I know you didn't imply anything. My view could be considered nationalistic: I think the UK should be at the heart of the EU, leading it, not leaving it!) – Evil Dog Pie – 2019-03-25T16:01:02.763

@evildogpie you probably won't find something that probably doesn't exist no matter how much you'd like it to be. – Mindwin – 2019-03-25T17:48:48.497

1Is streamlined a euphemism for slashed/removed? – gerrit – 2019-03-26T09:17:53.657

#5 seems to be actually a disadvantage, as in the new trade deals that UK has been trying to negotiate with the major powers (China and USA) the UK will lose the ability to be as protectionist as it was able to be under the EU-China and EU-USA trade deals. As it turns out, the freedom to negotiate its own trade deals means (in practice) worse deals. – Peteris – 2019-03-26T13:34:04.200

@Peteris: it depends on the details of those deal of course... which themselves might take a while to negotiate. But if they just fall to WTO rules in the immediate aftermath of a no-deal Brexit, then more protectionism is possible in some areas. – Fizz – 2019-03-26T13:36:39.590

2Well, one clear benefit is that the newly-passed article 11 and 13 that were just passed by the utterly insane European Parliament won't apply to the UK. – reirab – 2019-03-26T18:58:08.867

@SamIam Maybe keep the part about nationalists while removing xenophobes? I don’t think being a nationalist is necessarily a bad thing, and nationalism certainly seems like an important part of Brexit. – divibisan – 2019-10-13T03:26:37.957

@divibisan would you imagine an actual Brexit supporter defending Brexit in that way? – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica – 2019-10-13T04:00:58.650


There will be no immediate benefits, or even in the short term.

It may be possible to do trade deals with other countries that the EU would take longer to complete, but they are likely to be unfavourable to the UK due to the difficult situation and reduced bargaining power post-brexit. Also, any benefit from them will only come once they have offset whatever is lost when the UK leaves the EU and the Common Market / customs union.

There may be some small gains in sovereignty, in that the UK could pass some laws that are currently incompatible with EU regulations. Practically it won't want to make major changes that make trading more difficult. It will also be under pressure to accept rules from other countries in exchange for trade deals (mutual recognition of rules is the basis of trade deals), or to make its economy more competitive with non-EU economies (e.g. by removing worker's rights).

The UK will be able to control immigration from the EU. It already has full control of non-EU immigration. Demands to reduce immigration will cause worker shortages and economic loss. While some may regard reduced immigration as a benefit, it's a largely intangible one where as the monetary losses are very real.

There may be some benefits for certain parts of the UK. For example, Scotland may be able to achieve independence due to increased support after being forced to leave the EU against its collective will. There will be considerable disruption during the process but in the medium term it may have benefits. It's difficult to tell as there are so many unknowns.


Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 16 552

5I appreciate your answer, but I'm not sure that any of the points are clear benefits. If we do make trade agreements with other countries (including the EU) we will still have to accept legislative and regulatory changes, but they will be from third parties that we have no democratic authority over (unlike the EU, where we elect MEPs). I fail to see how trading EU citizens for Commonwealth citizens will help control immigration (even if immigration were a concern of mine). As for losing territorial sovereignty over Scotland, NI and Gibraltar, that's certainly not a benefit to the UK. – Evil Dog Pie – 2019-03-25T16:10:18.477

46@EvilDogPie That's the point. All purported benefits are extremely unlikely to materialize. – user – 2019-03-25T16:25:08.830


The UK also currently has a reasonable level of control over EU immigration that it has chosen not to use. "European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/38/EC ... allows EU member states to repatriate EU nationals after three months if they have not found a job or do not have the means to support themselves" https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/31/britain-take-back-control-immigration-eu-directive-brexit

– Player One – 2019-03-26T01:00:22.950


This is simply untrue. For example, the UK's exports of Scotch Whisky will almost certain double as soon as the (EU-led) export tariffs to India and other parts of the world are removed or lowered. They want to buy more and we want to sell more, hence the Scotch Whisky Association strongly favouring Brexit - "...the draft Withdrawal Agreement and accompanying Political Declaration on the Future UK-EU Relationship stand up well against the Scotch Whisky industry’s Brexit priorities" - https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scotch-whisky-association-backs-theresa-may-s-brexit-deal-1-4838996

– Valorum – 2019-03-26T07:18:00.697

7@PlayerOne Also the UK didn't use the controls allowed to restrict immigration from the A8 countries in the accession transition period. The EU has been a convenient scapegoat for UK government decisions about the exercise of its immigration powers. – Lag – 2019-03-26T08:50:24.340


@Valorum that of course depends on there being trade deals secured, which will take time. It will also obviously put at risk the EU exports of Whisky, which account for nearly 40% of all UK Whisky exports at the moment. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-45902335 It seems more like swapping a stable market for a (currently smaller) growing one. That might be a benefit, certainly the SWA is in a better position to know than I am, but it's clearly not all upside.

– Jontia – 2019-03-26T10:57:01.483

@valorum The article you link states that the SWA is in favour of Theresa May's deal, one which the hardcore brexiteers do not like. If they are in favour of Brexit then it seems it's a soft one instead of a hard one. I certainly hope we'll be able to revisit a lot of the claims currenty being made in a year and five years to see what actually happened. – Eric Nolan – 2019-03-26T10:59:54.677

@Jontia - EU export tariffs strongly favour the export of wines over spirits, which is hardly surprising given that the EU (with the exception of the UK) mainly exports wine. Going our "own way" gives the UK the chance to rebalance that, but there's certainly an immediate benefit that will be felt in every circumstance other than accepting the existing tariff arrangements. – Valorum – 2019-03-26T11:07:49.757

1@PlayerOne A point that most fail to make. There is no Freedom of Movement of people outside the Schengen Area but Freedom of Movement of labour, a distinction that should have been seized on by the Cameron Government to appease those who favour lower migration. In spite of her particular competence in that regard as Home Secretary, Theresa May has failed the country in not pointing that out as a possible option many years before talks of a Brexit Referendum ever took place. – Alexandre Cassagne – 2019-03-26T19:23:30.097

@Valorum Yes, that is true! Well, until Scotland chooses to go its own way, which is unlikely to take more than a couple of decades. – Alexandre Cassagne – 2019-03-26T19:24:38.103

@Valorum I don't see Ireland, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, or the Baltic republics exporting much wine, either, and many of them also have a strong tradition of distilling spirits. It's not like the UK is unique in that regard. – phoog – 2019-03-26T20:24:28.940

@AlexandreCassagne there is absolutely freedom of movement of people outside the Schengen area. A citizen of a Schengen country has just as much right to establish him or herself in Ireland or the UK as in another Schengen country, whether as a worker or under another provision of the free movement directive. The only difference is the administrative detail of having to go through a passport check or not when crossing the border. – phoog – 2019-03-26T20:26:25.690

1@phoog - Ireland is (famously) a net consumer of their own alcohol products. Tariffs protect them from stuff coming in. – Valorum – 2019-03-26T20:30:11.200

@phoog Yes - because of the UK and Ireland's political decisions to that effect. – Alexandre Cassagne – 2019-03-26T20:35:29.807

1@phoog I apologise if I was not clear, but what I meant by "there is no freedom of movement of persons [...] outside of Schengen" is that beyond three months, there is no EU directive, circular or other treaty obligation on the UK or Ireland that obliges any member state to accept immigration of EU citizens, if they are not workers in that the host country. However, there is an obligation to permit free and unrestricted immigration to accept workers. – Alexandre Cassagne – 2019-03-26T20:36:17.077

@AlexandreCassagne that is incorrect. The EU directive is implemented in the UK through the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016. See regs. 14 and 15 for the rights of residence that apply after 3 months; covered people may be workers, students, or self sufficient, or the family of such a person, as laid out in reg. 6, which reflects the conditions expressed in art. 7 of the directive. Being a worker is not the only way to qualify for free movement.

– phoog – 2019-03-26T21:05:29.820

@Valorum why then do I see so much Irish beer and whiskey here in the US? If they were drinking it all, there wouldn't be any left for me, yet there is. – phoog – 2019-03-26T21:08:51.403

@phoog - Because a lot of what you see in the States is manufactured under licence and is about as Irish as green corn dog on St Paddy's Day. – Valorum – 2019-03-26T21:10:52.747


@Valorum none of what I buy is -- and I do check. See also https://www.abfi.ie/Sectors/ABFI/ABFI.nsf/vPagesABFI/Home, a page that I found on https://www.forbes.com/sites/taranurin/2018/06/22/higher-than-expected-irish-whiskey-exports-propel-the-industry-ahead-of-its-goals/#43230f087df4, which is an article reporting a 10.4% increase in whiskey exports in 2017 over the previous year. Do you have any evidence to support your implication that Ireland does not export alcohol? Everything I can find suggests that it is completely false.

– phoog – 2019-03-26T21:30:20.213

@phoog If you're taking the "self-sufficient" to be equivalent to simple Freedom of Movement of People, then we have very different interpretations. In practice, the 'self-sufficient' are those who have reached retirement age (for instance, a significant portion of the British diaspora in Spain) and those wealthy enough to survive without working. The latter rarely struggle to migrate even without Freedom of Movement; and I am not aware of many retirees moving to the UK for the weather. The point being that those not in or seeking work, not studying, or self-sufficient have no treaty rights. – Alexandre Cassagne – 2019-03-27T13:36:29.370

@AlexandreCassagne these requirements apply equally to Schengen states and non-Schengen EU states. So I do not understand the basis of your implication that there is some sort of free movement of people that exists within the Schengen area but not outside it ("there is no freedom of movement of persons [...] outside of Schengen"). A German citizen may be removed from France to Germany for the same reasons that a citizen of the UK may be removed from Spain to the UK. If Art. 7 means that "those [not qualified] have no treaty rights," this is equally true within Schengen. – phoog – 2019-03-27T14:07:16.760

@phoog Thank you for clarifying that. My understanding was confused as I believed that there was deeper rights to reside within the Schengen area. – Alexandre Cassagne – 2019-03-27T14:19:29.730

1@AlexandreCassagne the difference of course is a practical one: intra-Schengen removals and bans are harder to enforce, because there are no (routine) checks on internal borders. A Schengen citizen who has been banned from another Schengen country on grounds of public safety, or one who has been removed after more than three months of residence because of insufficient means, can return relatively easily, but that doesn't make it legal. Such a person would have to avoid coming to the attention of the police. – phoog – 2019-03-27T14:49:28.940


As I'm sure you've probably worked out, there's no definitive, general answer to this question. For evidence, I'll simply point to the fact that, if there was, it would have been shouted from the rooftops by pro-Brexit campaigners.

However, it's possible to sketch out some of the likely consequences but you'll have to work out for yourself if you consider them net positive or not.

Firstly, assuming we don't remain in the customs union, we'll be able to negotiate bi-lateral trade deals. Short term, this is unlikely to have much effect. The reason being that there are a lot to complete so most are being negotiated on a like for like basis i.e. the same as our current EU ones. Just for stability.

In the medium term (and 5 years is probably there or thereabouts) we'd be expecting to close final version of some of the bigger ones e.g. US, EU, China, Switzerland. It's unlikely that the EU trade agreement will be net positive for the UK because they'll keep their usual red lines and we'll have our own, different, ones.

For the others, though, there are opportunities. For example, the EU tends to negotiate very complex agricultural tariffs. This is because of CAP and the general strength of the agricultural lobby in the EU. The downside is that the EU often has to give up some advantage in other areas to maintain this subsidy regime. For the UK, agriculture is substantially less significant, politically. So we may well end up agreeing trade deals that are net negative for our agriculture industry, compared to now, but beneficial to other industries e.g. manufacturing or services. If you're farming rape seed today this could be an issue. If you work in advertising (to pick a random occupation), it could be positive.

No deal has equivalent but different concerns. We'd be under WTO rules. However, the exact tariff regime we'd come up with hasn't been agreed (or at least publicised). Once the initial confusion has died down, there are likely to be winners and losers relative to existing tariffs. My educated guess is that agriculture and services will take a hit which manufacturing may well do better. But it's just a guess at this stage.

Secondly, assuming we don't stay in the single market, there'll be no freedom of movement with the EU. Now, it's highly debatable what level of immigration we'll have post-Brexit. In fact, it's economically questionable if it should be much lower than now. However, what is fairly indisputable is that freedom of movement makes immigration levels difficult to predict and, worse, dependent on circumstances outside of the UK's control. So, if you found your children in schools where there was a substantial increase in pupils, but without the equivalent timely investment, this is less likely to occur in future (whether the school investment will be at an appropriate level in future is a separate question).

Thirdly, the EU has strict rules on state subsidies. Outside of the EU, we are free to choose what we subsidise (ok, probably not completely free as we will likely be constrained by trade agreements but how we are constrained will be our choice). This is something that the current Labour leadership are very keen on as they would like to invest heavily in public ownership. So, if you consider, say, rail nationalisation a positive move then this sort of thing is much easier outside the EU.

And fourthly, don't discount independence considerations. There are plenty of people that do consider a united Ireland or independent Scotland a positive thing. For the former, where once the considerations were primarily religious, post-Brexit, there are likely to be very good economic arguments for uniting Ireland. Would it swing a vote sufficiently? Probably not given the depth of feeling but a major UK recession could affect that.

Similarly in Scotland, there's a much stronger case for a second referendum if Brexit happens than if it didn't. Moreover, the EU was dead against a break up of an EU country. They may well look very differently at a Scotland coming in from the cold, as it were. If Scotland also wanted to join the Euro (toxic during the first referendum, less so now), the EU may be very amenable. This could easily be enough to swing a vote.


Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 5 476


The Brexiters have made multiple claims about benefits... None of them had much merit IMHO, but the main ones were:

Reclaim full sovereignty

There are two main gripes here:

The first is that Brussels produces laws that apply as is (Regulations) or that set a minimum standard that must get transcribed into national law (Directives). EU citizens have a say on them by virtue of the EP; the UK government has some form of say on them by virtue of the EU Council and how EU commissioners get appointed; the UK's (or any other member's) national parliament has no say. The net result of this setup is that EU institutions tend to be viewed as not democratic enough.

A corollary argument that latches on to this first point is that, without these apparently annoying EU regulations -- that prevent you from e.g. eating chlorinated chicken, working 60 hour weeks, drinking polluted water, or buying lead-laced toys -- the UK could improve the living standards of its poorer population by working more and lowering its standards to cut the cost of goods. You can hear this lower cost of goods argument being made straight from Rees-Mogg's mouth, albeit without the part that makes explicit that it would involve cutting standards and corners.

The other is that the European Court of Justice supersedes all national law according to the ECJ. In practice it's a bit murkier, because the constitutional courts of at least one member state (France [FR]) have politely begged to differ with the ECJ and held that their constitution trumped EU law should a test arise.

At any rate, the threat to sovereignty should be fairly clear if you're concerned that an EU high court, set up to be the arbiter of EU treaties (that your government signed and your MPs approved) and laws (that you're involved in making through the EP), with one judge appointed by each member state, actually does its job and enforces that an EU treaty or law (part of international public law) might supersede your national law (as it should, bar your Constitution).

Independent trade deal policy

The gripe here is simple: the EU is currently responsible for negotiating international trade deals on its members' behalf. And the UK would like to make its own deals. The UK's silver-tongued negotiators can presumably do much better. They're reputably so outstanding, and the UK's economy is so important, that negotiating new trade deals will be the easiest thing ever.

Snark aside, an indicator that things might not go as planned here is Turkey: by virtue of having a customs arrangement with the EU, Turkey reportedly has a hard time finding trading partners who want to negotiate deals with it. The reason is that, as a would-be trading partner, you're better off negotiating with the EU instead, giving you access to a much bigger market, while snatching a de facto deal with Turkey as a bonus without the latter having much if any say on it.

That, you might be thinking, is an excellent reason to not stay in the Customs Union, on top of the pesky problem of not having any independent trade policy if you're in it to begin with. But then you'd also introduce a lot of trade friction with the world's largest market, and risk a return of The Troubles by introducing a hard border at the Irish border.

EU contributions

This argument was famously advanced on London buses, but it's been so debunked and ridiculed by now (to say nothing about retracted the day after the Brexit poll) that I hope you don't need any convincing it was hogwash.

Still, I would raise in passing that whether the UK continues to pay into EU contributions or not in the future (which it might, if it ultimately opts for a Norway type of deal), there are financial commitments that need to be honored short of having wide ranging implications for UK retirees (former EU civil servants), UK students (Erasmus), UK research programs and infrastructure projects that rely on EU grants and subsidies, and so forth.

Border control

Until now the UK already had control over its borders when it came to non-EU migration. So what we're actually talking about here is preventing the proverbial Polish plumber from settling in the UK, or the UK doing its part to absorb the millions of Syrians that poured into the EU owing to a crisis that the UK played its part in fueling.

IMHO this might actually be the only tangible benefit -- provided that you view that as a good thing, and think that having no freedom of movement for UK citizens within the EU is an acceptable cost.

Denis de Bernardy

Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 29 672

4Those "millions of Syrians" would not have the freedom of movement to settle in the EU until they naturalise as citizens of a EU member state (by which time they have already been absorbed elsewhere). Freedom of movement only applies to EU citizens. – gerrit – 2019-03-26T10:14:32.837

As far as I am aware, a country's obligations to refugees are due to international law, even when those laws are reinforced by EU legislation. The ECHR is independent of the EU and we're not leaving that, so our obligations to take and look after refugees will be unaffected by Brexit, won't it? – Evil Dog Pie – 2019-03-26T11:38:14.033

3@EvilDogPie: Best I'm aware, under international law, the country that the refugees enter through is responsible for processing them, and refugees usually enter Europe through southern and eastern European countries. Leaving aside that Syrian refugees arguably should have stopped in Turkey, Lebanon, or Jordan, the burden sharing within the EU that comes after they enter through Greece, Hungary, Italy, etc. is an EU thing insofar as I'm aware. – Denis de Bernardy – 2019-03-26T11:50:46.907

@DenisdeBernardy The burden sharing is an EU thing that happens to be totally failing. There is no burden sharing in practice, certainly not mandatory burden sharing. – gerrit – 2019-03-26T16:45:40.563

@gerrit: Agreed. I wanted to add a note that it wasn't working at all, but I lacked characters to do so. – Denis de Bernardy – 2019-03-26T16:51:00.717

Regarding border control, in addition to the proverbial Polish plumber problem, there's an argument about people using EU free movement to get to the UK by first naturalizing in another EU country. It has always struck me as extremely farfetched, but leaving the EU does restrict such people to naturalizing in Ireland before being able to move to the UK. – phoog – 2019-03-26T20:37:34.967

@phoog: Bar Russians who buy their EU citizenship in Cyprus or Malta, that strikes me as extremely far-fetched. I'm like, if I were to settle in a random EU country and build a life there for years, which I incidentally have done multiple times as an EU citizen, the last thing on my mind would be to then move to the UK, where it's cold and rainy, and basically isn't that great a place to live in except for London's startup scene, the City if you work in finance, and the NHS. Plus Brexit. – Denis de Bernardy – 2019-03-26T20:44:50.817


The problem with seeing benefits is that the main benefit of Brexit is that it gives more power to our politicians to decide things themselves, for good or bad. This means that any benefits are only as good as the politicians making them, and may also be impacted by any deal we strike with the EU.

Also, in the short term (which for something of this scale probably means 3-5 years), the costs of change may outweigh benefits. Also, as in any change, benefits will be distributed unequally across the population; if your job relies on the EU, then you'll probably lose, but if it depends on non-EU connections, you may gain.

Sadly, it's often the poorest who are least able to adapt to change (due to a lack of cash reserves and/or difficulties in reskilling, finding new work, etc.), so – baring government policies to the contrary – the benefits are naturally more likely to go to the better-off. Note that this isn't unique to Brexit; this is the case for any change.

Unfortunately, whilst there's many possible immediate benefits, neither Tories nor Labour have made it clear what they'd actually do with their new freedoms, so the rest of this is more suggestions rather than actual policies anyone's suggested. I suspect that both parties have ideas, but don't want to publicise them yet as they don't want to be seen as pro-brexit, and as they don't want to show their cards to the EU until any deal is sealed.

We could, for example, drop import tarifs on a wide range of goods from food to technology, dropping their prices instantly. However, it's unlikely that politicians will do this as it looks like we'll either be in a customs union, or some similar equivalent, to ease the NI issue.

Trade deals (which would help our exports) unfortunately will take time, and the EU exit rules prevent us negotiating new deals until after we leave (which does seem unfair – imagine not being allowed to look for a new job / flat until after you'd left your old one...!), so unless there's been some behind-the-scenes negotiating, those will take time, particularly those with larger nations (though Trump might on a whim tweet us one immediately...!).

Staffing in hospitals etc. won't be directly affected, as those with jobs will continue to have them (though they may decide to leave themselves). However, this is one area where we should be able to show benefits within a few years. Assuming that the home office controls (currently only non-EU) immigration, so as to limit total (EU + non-EU) immigration to some 'acceptable' level, then a reduction in EU immigration would allow them to increase non-EU immigration, whilst hitting the same total levels. If we have more control over immigration, we could for maintain/reduce overall immigration, but prioritise health workers from anywhere in the world over EU workers in any industry. This requires political willpower, but would probably be a political win – they would be able to bring in more health workers whilst also reducing immigration.

We could pass stricter rules on health/safety on food and goods, but this would make it harder to import goods (in particular, if our rules are stricter than the EU, then most EU producers would need to adapt to meet them), so is unlikely to happen. It's more likely we may relax some over-strict rules to allow cheaper imports from a wider range of countries; but no politician wants to be seen to be relaxing H&S rules, so it's not hugely likely.

One significant benefit is that we may be spared the Eurovision song contest...

Dan W

Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 227


I don't think the Eurovision song contest is restricted to the EU. Last time I checked Australia isn't in the EU. ;)

– JJJ – 2019-03-25T17:44:20.213

4Note that the UK can (and does try to, with some small success, there was a question about that here recently) negotiate trade deals, as long as they don't come into effect while the UK is still in the EU. – Graipher – 2019-03-25T17:45:32.983

Comments deleted. Please try to keep your comments relevant to the answer and do not go on off-topic tangents. – Philipp – 2019-03-26T14:22:25.530


The EU has not prevented the UK from granting immigration to health workers from outside the EU -- there are many of them. There has recently been a limit on the number of non-EU doctors immigrating to the UK, but that limit was established by the Home Office, not by the EU.

– phoog – 2019-03-26T20:43:51.430

@phoog - it seems a reasonable assumption that the home office applies limits on non-EU immigrants to limit overall immigration to levels they consider acceptable? Thus I’m assuming lower EU immigration would allow more non-EU immigration. I’ve adjusted to clarify this. – Dan W – 2019-03-27T21:17:19.167

@DanW yes, that is indeed the reason for the limits. But that means that the limits derive from the home office's idea of acceptable levels, so, again, it is not a mandate from the EU but a matter of national policy. And nothing prevents them from prioritizing the immigration of doctors, for example, over other categories of immigrants such as billionaires or the family members of British citizens. – phoog – 2019-03-27T21:21:40.593

@phoog I’d assume they set levels vaguely based on what the public at large find acceptable. – Dan W – 2019-03-27T21:29:30.180

1@DanW this being [Politics.SE], you probably know the relationship between "what the public at large" thinks and government policy. Politicians can easily create an appetite for immigration cap exemptions by talking about how the NHS is hampered by staffing shortfalls. But again, all of this is domestic policy; nothing is mandated by the EU. The UK now has an annual cap of 20,700 on highly-skilled migrants; they could easily raise the figure or allocate any or all of those spots to the NHS. Of course, if they really wanted to change the demographics of the NHS, they could raise the salaries. – phoog – 2019-03-27T21:41:48.070

@phoog - haha, yeah :) I agree, but equally, exemptions are easily forgotten when it’s a tabloid headline in the other direction, or “the right-honourable gentleman allowed immigration to rise...” etc. I agree it’s domestic policy not EU mandated, but that doesn’t mean it’s not influenced by the EU - I still think that a fall in EU migration could make it easier for politicians (who’re balancing various conflicting desires of the public) to raise the highly-skilled migrant cap. – Dan W – 2019-03-27T21:47:07.007


Some potential benefits that may be unlikely to materialise:

State aid and nationalisation

There are Brexit supporters on all sides of the political spectrum. A socialist Brexit supporter might tell you that the end of European Union competition law, in particular against State aid to privately owned companies. For example, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said:

We cannot be afraid of intervening directly to support supply chains and new industries, any deal with the EU must recognise that the old state aid rules are no longer valid

Likewise, a major programme of nationalising the means of production is likely to cause objection within the European Union.

Of course, many people would question whether this is a benefit.

The socialist newspaper Morning Star supports Brexit for this reason.


If the Common Agricultural Policy ends and UK farmers will lose their subsidies, many UK farms will disappear, in particular unprofitable sheep farming. This is even more true if tariffs are slashed, such has has been proposed. This means sheep would disappear from the hills in the UK, which would open up opportunities for a major rewilding programme, with forests returning where overgrazing currently prevents them. Note that true rewilding would take more than just removing the sheep, but supporters of rewilding may find that opposition to other proposals (such as a reintroduction of predators including wolves) would be less powerful if sheep farmers are history.

I'm not aware of anyone explicitly supporting Brexit for this reason, nor am I aware of anyone who has proposed the policy to effectively end British sheep/hill farming, but it may be an unintended side effect which some people may consider beneficial.

Needless to say, most people would consider it a strong negative point if British farms disappeared, and most likely post-Brexit domestic policy would ensure that they don't.

Comment: Although some on the (far) left support Brexit, in practice the Brexit agenda is being set by pro-free market, anti-immigration, nationalist forces, that are rather associated with the political right than with the political left. It is probably unlikely that the above points will actually materialise.


Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 40 843

This is an interesting perspective, one that I'd not previously considered. I suspect that land that was freed from agricultural purposes is more likely to be earmarked for development, but one can hope. – Evil Dog Pie – 2019-03-26T10:48:38.130

Personally I'd like to see more wilderness but unsurprisingly this is the first time I've seen that put forward as a beneft, or any sort of result. It would be trivially easy to spin that as a negative. "So you think farms failing and going back to the wild is a good thing? Perhaps you'll be happhy when our town centres are derelict, homes for urban foxes and deer!". – Eric Nolan – 2019-03-26T11:36:26.503

@EricNolan Of course, most people would see British farms will vanish as a negative. I've added a line to point that out. – gerrit – 2019-03-26T11:37:39.470

You can bet the sheep farmers will lobby the government for subsidies. Or block roads otherwise (as the French goat farmers used to do). – Fizz – 2019-03-26T14:07:08.023

@Fizz Roads blocked by sheep? That would be great fun! Definitely a benefit in my books. Something to look forward to. :-) – Evil Dog Pie – 2019-03-26T15:03:16.283

@EvilDogPie Near towns and cities it's likely to be earmarked for development. On the hillsides of the Lake District, the Pennines, the Highlands, or the Cambrian Mountains, not so much. I don't think the Green Desert of Wales will be considered prime real estate any time soon (unless the ban on wildmills is lifted perhaps).

– gerrit – 2019-03-26T16:05:58.463


More control over immigration

This is the most quoted reason by leavers for leaving the EU. With reduced immigration, the probability of you meeting someone who doesn't speak perfect English or the probability of segregated communities (i.e. in Bradford) being created are decreased. Secondly, reduced immigration will lead to a slowdown in the increase of the population - more land will be available per person (so less homes will need to be built on greenfield land) and less demand will be placed on public services (schools, hospitals etc.). Finally, the immigration policy of Britain can better represent the economic needs of the country - due to the reduced immigration from the EU, we might be able to relax immigration restrictions from the rest of the world.

British sovereignty over laws and trade

The available options for parliament to legislate will drastically increase. Britain will be able to pass very left wing budgets (of the likes of Italy's) or pass very right wing programmes of reducing product safety standards or workers rights and not have the EU interfering. Britain will also be allowed to enforce its own tariffs on goods from abroad, which is a good thing if you are a protectionist.

No money going to the EU budget

Some money (not as much as claimed) will be available to spend as we will not be contributing it to the EU budget.

Thomas Hickman

Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 71


Until the terms of the exit are agreed to, it will be impossible to answer this concretely. What is certain is that many of the purported benefits were, at best, not fully thought-through and will never come to be. With anything relating to trade, the EU is the UK's primary trade partner, and the UK will still have to comply with EU regulations in order to export to EU countries. This will merely add complication and a layer of bureaucracy to the matter.


Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 121


I think the economic consensus is that the UK will be economically worse off for leaving. We can be reasonably sure that a disorderly no-deal Brexit will be economically disastrous, so everyone reasonable wants to avoid that. Even the heterodox Economists for Brexit say UK manufacturing will have to be wound down like coal and steel were (which I sincerely hope doesn't come true). Of course the economy wasn't the sole factor in the vote to leave - although I think some Brexiteers were and are, shall we say, 'overly optimistic' about the post-Brexit economy.

The intangible benefits in principle are sovereignty - all our laws will be made domestically, we won't have to implement or abide by laws made by supranational entities - and control over immigration. But in practice our exercise of these benefits will be circumscribed by agreements and trade with other countries.

India for example wants easier immigration for Indian nationals to the UK in its trade deal with the UK. We can change our laws about goods and services but in international trade we must nevertheless meet the standards set out in the trade agreements. We will continue to be subject to non-domestic courts or arbitration bodies formed to adjudicate disputes per the conditions of our international agreements.

It is difficult to predict how such things will affect the individual citizen or household, particularly as there is no formal agreement yet. The only things on the table are the draft withdrawal agreement or no deal (i.e. trade under WTO rules).


Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 4 620


No consensus. All claimed benefits are strongly disputed.

However, claimed benefits include:

Increased independence of action. Increased political and economic nationalism. Lower immigration. Less ‘red tape’. Lower contributions to European budgets. Being able to make trade deals. Laws are proposed by people elected by the people Other more ironic ‘benefits’ include:

Britons coming to see what the EU actually does. The collapse of UKIP. ‘Rebalancing’ the economy away from financial services. Lower house prices, more tourists, and other consequences of a weak currency/economy. Europe running more smoothly without the awkward British. Less competition for European companies. Jobs for lawyers.

Athar Bhat

Posted 2019-03-25T14:56:36.187

Reputation: 1