Fact 1: Exports to the EU

Half of Britain’s exports go to the EU, accounting for some 3.5 million jobs. The UK sells more to the Netherlands alone than to the whole of China.

Over 56 percent of vehicles produced in the UK were exported to Europe in 2016. In 2015, 40 percent of Britain’s services sector exports were made to the EU.


Fact 2: EU investment in the UK

The EU is the largest source of investment for the UK’s manufacturing, science and other industries, as well as for regional development.

In 2013, EU countries accounted for £453 billion worth of overseas investment in the UK – 46 percent of the total.


Fact 3: EU laws enshrine workers' rights

Many of our most important employment rights are underpinned by EU legislation.

The EU has ensured safe working hours, introduced the right to paid annual leave and the right to parental leave.

When the UK leaves the EU there is no guarantee that they will be incorporated into British law.

Fact 3: The chief negotiators

Negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU is the responsibility of the government’s “Brexit team” – David Davies, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson.

While all three campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, they have very different priorities and do not agree about the approach to negotiations.

Fact 4: Article 50

Article 50, which cannot be reversed, allows just two years from the date it is triggered for agreement to be reached between the UK and the EU on the terms of withdrawal.

Prime minister Theresa May has confirmed this will happen by the end of March 2017, meaning the UK is likely to have left the EU by the summer of 2019.

Each of the EU’s remaining 27 member states must ratify any Brexit deal that emerges from the Article 50 negotiations.


Fact 5: Two year deadline for trade negotiations

Unless a new trading relationship with the EU is reached by the two-year deadline, the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are likely to come into effect.

Failure to reach agreement on the UK’s future relationship with Europe, within the two year deadline, will leave Britain with no access to the single market and no special relationship with the EU.

This will mean trading tariffs could be imposed between the EU and UK, meaning charges of around 10 percent could be levied on exports to the EU.

Fact 6: Britain's credit rating was downgraded after the EU referendum

Britain lost its AAA credit rating as a result of the Brexit vote, meaning that borrowing becomes more expensive.

If the government fails to secure access to the single market as part of the Brexit negotiations then the UK’s credit rating is likely to be downgraded further, Moody’s credit agency has warned.

Fact 7: European Work Councils

EU regulations provide the right of the workforce of a multi-national company operating across two or more EU member states to organise a European works council (EWC).

These ensure that worker representatives from across the firm meet together and are informed and consulted by employers.

Depending on the Brexit negotiations, UK workforces may not be legally entitled to join EWCs after Britain leaves the EU.