THIS time next week voters in the UK will be getting ready to have their say on our membership of the European Union in a referendum which will ask voters should we stay, or should we go?

Ever since Prime Minister David Cameron announced the referendum would take place on June 23 there has been furious campaigning from both sides of the debate – those who say we should “Brexit” and those who say we should remain.

But with claims and counter claims being hurled between the two warring camps it has been difficult for voters to work out who to believe.To help we have collected together some of the main points around membership of the EU along with the views of each campaign group.

Cost of EU membership

* The UK paid £17.8billion to the EU in 2015. However it received £4.9bn in its annual rebate and received an additional £4.4bn back in subsidies and other payments

* The amount paid in contributions to the EU is the equivalent of 1.5% of the UK budget

What the Leave camp say

* The gross cut works out at £350million a week

* If the UK left this money would be available for other priorities

What the Remain camp say

* Economic benefits of being in the EU outweigh the cost

* After Brexit the UK would still have to contribute to the EU budget to retain access to the single market

Farming and Fishing

* 50% of British farm incomes come from EU subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

* The Common Fisheries Policy sets rules for the amount of fish boats from each country can catch

Leave –

* Britain pays more for the CAP than it gets back so leaving would make more money available for farmers

* The Common Fisheries Policy has damaged the UK fishing industry

Remain –

* Many British farmers would go out of business without CAP

* 73% of British farming exports go to the EU

* The Common Fisheries Policy has prevented over fishing


* Net migration is currently at around 300,000 a year, despite the Government aiming to cut it to 100,000

* Recent figures show that net migration from EU countries is 184,000 a year and non-EU countries 188,000 a year

* EU citizens have the right to live and work in any member state

Leave –

* Being in the EU means it is impossible to control immigration

* Immigration is putting strain on public services* Immigrants are pushing down British wage rates

* Points based system for migrants should be extended to those from the EU

Remain –

* Immigrants pay more in takes than they take out

* Under the renegotiation agreed by the PM in-work benefits for EU migrants will be limited for the first four years

* Even if the UK leaves the EU it will still have to accept migrants to retain full access to the single market

Laws and sovereignty

* The UK has to apply EU directives. All member states are bound by EU regulations

* EU laws are proposed by the European Commission and most of them have to be agreed by at least 16 national governments representing 65% of the EU population as well as the European Parliament

* EU laws are enforced by the European Court of Justice ECJ)

Leave –

* Most laws are made in Brussels

* Other member states can force through decisions

* Leaving the EU is the only way to regain full sovereignty

Remain –

* Only a minority of UK laws come from the EU

* Britain has a veto in many important areas

* Prime Minister’s agreement allows national parliaments to block legislation

Economy and Trade

* Around half of all UK trade is conducted within the EU

* The EU single market allows free movement of goods, services and workers

* Trade negotiations with other parts of the world at conducted by the EU and not individual states

Leave –

* UK companies would be free of EU regulation

* Trade within the EU would continue as we import more than we export

* Britain would be able to negotiate its own trade deals

Remain –

* Brexit would cause economic shock and growth would be slower

* Britain is more dependant as a share of exports to the EU than they are of us

* UK would still have to apply EU rules to have access to single market

Work & Pay

* Some workers’ rights are guaranteed by the EU but tax rates, benefits and minimum wage are all set by UK parliament

Leave –

* Less regulation would help create more jobs

* Maternity and holiday pay would only change if the UK chose to

* Lower migration would push wages up

Remain –

* EU trade supports three million jobs in the UK

* Eu has delivered guaranteed maternity leave, holiday pay and increased protection in the workplace

* The UK gets £66m a day from the EU

Read more: 22 things you need to know about the EU referendum

Read more: Cornish fishermen urge Brexit

Read more: Quiz – how well do you know the EU?

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