TUC claims Brexit will cost UK workers £38 a week

1 Jun 16

A British exit from the European Union would hit the wages of workers by an average of £38 a week by 2030 due to lower trade, investment and economic demand, according to the Trades Union Congress.

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The analysis published today by the group concludes that there would be job losses if the UK voted to leave the economic bloc on June 23, with posts most likely to go outside of London.

Today’s Better Off In report concludes there are substantial economic benefits from the EU for working people across the UK. This is both as a result of increased trade and higher investment flows, as well as the employment rights and protections as part of the so-called social pillar of EU legislation.

Future restrictions on earnings would come on top of the £40 a week impact of the financial crisis on wages, according to the TUC.

Using Treasury predictions that a ‘leave’ vote would push the UK into recession, the TUC said the average view of economic forecasts was that gross domestic product would be reduced by 5.6% by 2030 compared to remain.

This is used to project changes to average weekly earnings from a 2015 baseline of £492.

Under ‘normal’ economic conditions for remain, earnings are expected to advance by £220 if the UK stays in the EU and £182 if the country votes to leave, a £38 reduction according to the TUC.

General secretary Frances O'Grady said that although the EU is far from perfect, Britain’s workers are better off inside the bloc.

“Remember, half of our manufacturing exports go to the EU. The majority of our largest trading partners are in the EU,” she stated.

“And half of foreign direct investment depends on the EU. So our manufacturing sector – which has already been battered and bruised by the recession – would be hit hard.”

However, she added that there was still a need for reform in the EU.

“Not David Cameron’s version of reform – I mean reform to rebuild a Europe for workers and citizens. A new deal for our young people. Investment in infrastructure to boost growth. A plan to nurture the low-carbon industries that we need for the future, and in which the UK has the potential to excel if we move fast enough.

“That’s the long-term vision the trade union movement believes in. And it means engagement with the EU, not retreat.”

Also today, the Vote Leave campaign said that leaving the EU was the only way to control migration into the UK.

In a statement released by campaign leaders Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, and Gisela Stuart, Vote Leave stated that migration brings many benefits to Britain – culturally, socially and economically.

“We want Britain to continue to benefit from migration. But if we are to welcome more people to Britain then the public must be reassured that we have control over who comes here,” they stated.

“Our membership of the EU means we don’t have control.”

Current levels of immigration put pressure on public services, and class sizes will rise and waiting lists will lengthen if we don't tackle free movement, according to the campaign.

“If we remain in the EU the situation is only likely to get worse. The European Court of Justice can use the Charter of Fundamental Rights to overturn decisions of elected politicians on asylum policy. It is now in charge of how we implement the crucial 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. We need a new approach on refugees but the EU’s institutions stand in the way.

“There is also the basic lack of democratic consent for what is taking place. Voters were promised repeatedly at elections that net immigration could be cut to the tens of thousands. This promise is plainly not achievable as long as the UK is a member of the EU and the failure to keep it is corrosive of public trust in politics.”

The campaign claimed these problems would only get worse when countries in the pipeline to join the EU, which could include Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, become members.

“We therefore propose that if Britain votes to take back control on 23 June, we should introduce a new, safer and more humane immigration system as rapidly as possible. The main principles for such a new system will, we believe, be broadly supported across British society.”

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