Leaving is not the answer

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I note that Brexit supporters are always happy to make all sort of outlandish claims that Britain will be better off outside the EU when the evidence is to the contrary.

I was only 12 when Britain chose to enter the then Common Market. I’m pleased we did and I for one would far rather remain in the EU than leave.

Remember, for those of us living in the North East, we get £10 back from Brussels for every £1 we pay in. I could give many examples how the EU has helped us, investment in Nissan being the prime candidate but another is The Angel of the North.

If we are to follow the Norway or Switzerland model (which seems to be favoured by some), then we could continue to trade freely with EU countries but we would still pay into the EU coffers (estimated at 90% of our current net payments). We would have to agree to abide by EU regulations and we would have to continue to allow freedom of movement (so no control over immigration) but we would have no say over how the EU regulates.

It’s thought negotiating such a deal could take two to five years. Even following the Norway or Switzerland model, we would still have another 32 international trade agreements to re-negotiate and it is estimated this could take 10 years to complete. Of course, we could elect to follow the World Trade Organisation route, whereby we would avoid paying into the EU coffers (but would the North East get its fair share of the savings?), avoid having to follow EU regulations, could control immigration but would be hit with a trade tariff with the EU and would still have a further 32 international trade agreements to renegotiate.

We can’t go back to pre-1973, back then Britain still had its home grown car-making industry (gone or in foreign ownership now), ship-building, coal mines, British Steel but they’re all gone. We can’t go back, we can only go forward and throwing the baby out with the bath water just so that we can regain our sovereignty is not the way to go.

Rod Hepplewhite