Brexit analysis

What would happen if we left the EU?

As a hypothetical event, Brexit still largely lacks definition. Some EU critics say it would be possible to leave the bloc and scrap free movement of people while retaining access to the single market.

In depth
UK’s EU referendum
News, comment and analysis on the referendum to decide whether Britain will leave the EU.

Their opponents say such a suggestion is fanciful in the extreme, adding that a UK outside the EU could either choose to follow Norway, which pays into the EU budget and implements the bloc’s regulations, or opt for a much more distant relationship, with trade governed by World Trade Organisation rules.

The impact of Brexit will be determined by at least two variables, neither of which is remotely settled: what kind of post-membership relationship with the EU the UK wants, and whether the bloc is willing to agree. A Norway-style coexistence might be much less of a change than many expect; a bigger rift could have profound consequences for both Britain and the EU itself.

What are economists’ views on Brexit?
Economists overwhelmingly believe that leaving the EU is bad for the country’s economic prospects. In the FT’s annual poll of more than 100 leading thinkers, not one thought a vote for Brexit would enhance UK growth in 2016.

As for the medium term prospects of the country, almost three-quarters of the economists polled thought leaving the EU would damage Britain’s outlook; just 8 per cent thought the country would benefit from leaving. Less than 20 per cent thought it would make little difference.