Counting the Cost

Britain’s EU referendum: Counting the cost of ‘Brexit’

Ahead of the UK’s EU referendum, we examine the economic and political consequences of Britain leaving the Union.

For the third time in three years, citizens of the United Kingdom have a massive decision to make. In 2014, it was the Scottish independence referendum; in 2015, it was a general election which cemented conservative rule in the country; and now, the EU referendum.

On June 23, British voters will decide whether the UK should remain a part of the European Union or not.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which was set up to promote the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world, says that a so-called Brexit would have significant economic costs, not just for the UK and Europe, but for the rest of the world.

That view is shared by the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, who said, “a UK vote to exit the European Union could have significant economic repercussions.”

But there are also many who believe that leaving the European Union will actually bring about some financial independence and stop millions of British pounds finding their way to Brussels.

So what is really at stake? What are the costs and benefits of a UK exit from the EU? What are the political implications? And what would be the impact of Brexit on the global economy?

Counting the Cost talks to former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis; Patrick Minford, from Cardiff Business School; Thomas Sampson, from the London School of Economics; and Martin Beck, lead UK economist with London-based Oxford Economics, about Britain’s EU referendum and its potential economic consequences.