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What Brexit will actually mean for you

What Brexit will actually mean for you

What Brexit will actually mean for you
24 June 2016

So, like the morning after a gigantic house party that got serious out of hand now comes the clear-up operation.

Britain has spoken, it wants to leave the European Union. But how exactly that is done, and how long it will take is far from certain.

Like that one annoying friend, having created the mess by suggesting the party in the first place and then insisting on some drinking games, David Cameron has chosen not to stick around, exiting out the front door early this morning without doing any cleaning up whatsoever. A new Prime Minister will be in place by October and it is likely that Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon treaty will be triggered shortly after this - if not before.

This gives two years for the UK to negotiate the terms of its departure from the EU, after which it will then have to do three things simultaneously: negotiate a new deal with Brussels, negotiate new trade deals all around the world and also replace all of the European laws with its own. Even the experts have no idea how long this will take, or - obviously - how successful these will be.

But here's a few ideas of just how Brexit will affect you.

Using your phone abroad

This is likely to go up considerably - both BT and Vodafone have already said that EU caps to mobile roaming charges might no longer apply.

Conclusion: go back to the days of turning data off as soon you're in the airport


Again - opinion is divided. Some believe that the EU's rules on air travel have helped create a competitive market which has kept costs low for passengers. Others believe that their influence is overrated - it's such a competitive industry that prices will remain low regardless.

Once abroad, your holidays will be more expensive due to the fall in the value of the pound, making the cost of accommodation and services higher.

In simple terms, you'll probably have to wait longer at border control as you won't be able to sail through with your EU-approved passport.

Conclusion: travelling abroad will probably stay the same, but it will cost more once you're out there

Housing, mortgages and rent

This is a biggie and, with everything, no one really knows. There had been dire warnings from Cameron and Osborne that house prices would drop in the event of Brexit, but that may actually come as a relief to people who cannot currently afford them. However, prices are still likely to go up - due to the continued lack of new housebuilding - just not as fast as they would otherwise have done. Any fall in immigration numbers - a far from certain event - would reduce pressure on the market, resulting in a fall in prices.

The value of the pound has already plummeted upon the news of Brexit, meaning that imports will be more expensive, leading to a rise in inflation. In order to combat this, the Bank of England may choose to raise interest rates, meaning an increase in the cost of mortgages, and an increase in rent prices - the net effect of this would also be to lower house prices.

However, in the event of a shock to the economy, the Bank may be forced to cut interest rates to encourage people to spend and get the economy moving again. In this instance, prices could go up.

Conclusion: probably lower house prices, more expensive mortgages and rent prices

Wages and work

Another biggie - experts have predicted that unemployment will rise in the UK as a result of international businesses choosing to leave the country. The Treasury estimates that wages could fall as much as 4%, with a typical worker being at least £780 worse off.

However, others argue that the fall in the value of the pound will be better for our exports, leading to increased demand for our goods, which could then create new jobs.

Conclusion: incredibly hard to say at this stage

Movement and immigration

This is very much up in the air. Nothing will change for two years, so if you're a European in the UK, don't panic yet. However, after this is an unknown - if the UK joins the single market, it will have to allow freedom of movement, so nothing will change with regards to immigration.

It is likely to be the case that the status and rights of existing residents in the UK are not changed. Even the likes of Nigel Farage have not demanded mass deportations.

In the long term, if the UK does indeed try to stop European movement into the UK, then expect tit-for-tat action from other countries. If the UK wants access to the single market, it will have to allow full freedom - if it doesn't want full freedom, it will not have access to the market and may suffer huge economic consequences.

Conclusion: essentially it boils down to how much access the UK government wants to European markets versus how much immigration they will allow

If you're Scottish?

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain. It also only voted to remain part of the United Kingdom on condition it was part of the European Union. Nicola Sturgeon holds all the aces here - a justified new referendum on independence could be called at any time - it's more a question of when, not if.

Scotland's economic case for leaving the UK is weaker than it was - the dip in oil prices means they would have less income - but they might now consider leaving the union to be a gamble worth taking if it means that they regain access to the EU - if the EU would accept them, of course.

With Northern Ireland also voting to remain, there are already calls for a possible move to the reunification of Ireland - a process which is fraught with danger.

Conclusion: a new Scottish referendum is inevitable, but when?

Another vote?

There could even be another referendum. The result is not legally-binding and if there is large turmoil in the markets and the deal offered by the EU is incredibly poor, there is nothing to stop the UK government calling another vote. Nigel Farage himself had said that if Remain had won 52/48, he would call for another referendum.

On the flip side, if the EU offers us a new, improved deal to stay, then that could also be put to the popular vote. It is currently anyone's guess whether this is what they will choose to do, but either way, it might be time to get those pencils (and pens) out again soon.

Conclusion: it's possible - a lot depends on the reaction of the EU