What does Brexit mean for the UK

What Brexit means for the UK (by someone who doesn’t know about politics) – Part Two

Last time we spoke, we answered some of the most important questions about Brexit: How did it come to be in the first place? Can we stay in the single market if we leave the European Union, what on earth parliament keeps voting on, and most importantly, whether Milky Way Magic Stars will still be available after D-Day on the 29th March. But what’s been going on since then? Well, quite a bit actually.

Since the catastrophic defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal which was rejected by a whopping 230 votes, she headed back to Brussels to try and negotiate changes to the Irish backstops and get a revised deal for the Commons to vote on. However, unfortunately, Brussels wouldn’t budge, and at the time of writing this, the prime minister had promised MPs an update by 26th February. So what’s next?

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Well, last week MPs voted to block a no-deal Brexit after passing an amendment which rejects the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement, but at this stage, pretty much anything is possible.

Whatever happens, deal or no deal, hard Brexit or calling the whole things off, one thing’s for sure: Brexit is going to have a pretty big impact on our everyday lives. Without further ado, here’s our review of what Brexit really means for the UK.

Food

In either Brexit scenario, food prices are likely to go up. There’s a whole host of complicated reasons why, but basically they all come down to the fact that the UK will need to pay additional charges to import food (remember all that chat about import, export and the single market in the first blog? If not, refresh your memory here). And under a no-deal scenario, the UK would be treated as a “third country” by the EU – which means commerce would be governed by the World Trade Organisation rules.

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Around 52% of the food we consume has its origins in the UK – which means 48% of the food we eat is imported. In the first half of 2018, we imported £23 billion worth of food. Of that, around 30% of our imports are from the EU, with key examples including Irish beef (£425 million), French wine (£321 million – we can probably take responsibility for about 50% of that), and Danish pork (£171 million). We even spend £12 million on Greek olives! Further afield, our bananas come from Costs Rica (£50 million) and our grapes are from South Africa (£115 million). So if there’s a hard Brexit, tariffs on imported food go up by around 22% – which would add a whopping £220 million onto our food costs

And where would that be reflected? Food prices, of course. Meat, vegetables and dairy products are set to have the largest price rises under a no-deal scenario – and the Bank of England has warned that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, shopping bills could surge by 10%. Sure, that’s the most extreme no deal scenario, but even if the government was able to negotiate a no tariff deal which would limit extra tariff costs, additional border inspections and safety checks would still see food prices rise by at least 3.8%. The average food shop in the UK is around £89 a week – and under a hard Brexit, this would increase to around £108 – which means you would add nearly £1000 to the food bill every year. Gulp.

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Farming

Next up (and a logical step from the issue of food), farming. Surprisingly, despite the majority of farmers voting for Brexit, farmers and food producers are among the most vulnerable businesses in a no-deal scenario. First, the supply of seasonal harvest workers, mainly from eastern Europe, will dry up unless new immigration rules are quickly brought in. And secondly, there’s the devastating impact on meat and food export. Not only will World Trade Organisation tariffs make our products less competitive on the continent, but EU rules mean a possible wait of up to six months before UK farmers are even certified as approved exporters.

There’s a pretty massive divide in opinion though (not at all surprisingly). Some are choosing to look on the bright side and argue that leaving the EU could actually give Britain a golden opportunity to secure ambitious free trade deals, all the while supporting our farmers and producers to grow and sell more great British food. However, others have a much gloomier outlook, with some going as far as to say that farming businesses could be completely wiped out after the Brexit transition. Gulp.

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People

One of the pulls of the left campaign was that the UK would be completely free to set its own controls on immigration. However, it works both ways: if passport and customs checks are heightened, there could be long delays at borders, and flights to the EU could be grounded as the necessary confirmations to cover both ends of the journey might not be in place. Meanwhile, the fate of expats (1.3 million Britons in EU countries and 3.7 million Europeans in Britain), their rights to live and their rights to work would be unclear. Professionals working in the EU might find the qualifications are no longer recognised, which means they would be no longer able to practice.

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Housing

So far, so scary. Surely things are looking better from the housing perspective though, right? Erm… no really. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England (so it’s safe to say he probably knows his stuff) has warned that in light of a no deal Brexit, the economy would suffer and house prices could fall by as much as 30%. For first time buyers, that’s pretty good news (aside from the fact that banks will be willing to lend less). But for everyone else? Not so much.

Sellers putting their houses on the market are sitting there for longer, because buyers are waiting to see what happens. This has caused a decrease in transactions and is causing house prices to fall. Why does this matter? Well, the housing market is intrinsically linked to consumer spending. When house prices go up, people spend more. When prices go down, people panic that their mortgage is now more than the house is worth, and tighten their purse strings.

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Let’s look at it this way: if the bank lent you £200,000 for your house, they want all their money back and don’t care that it’s now only worth £190,000. So what happens? You start being much more careful with your money. That Friday night takeaway becomes leftover pasta, which means that the Chinese down the road makes less money, and therefore pays less tax, and less tax means the government has less money. The government will then try to get more money by raising prices of goods – which is also known as inflation – and it’s all linked in one big downward spending spiral. S

But really, only a no deal Brexit scenario will impact the housing market in a big way. Sure, Brexit is currently causing uncertainty, but the property market has always been this way – and data shows that the changes to buy-to-let stamp duty in April 2016 had a bigger impact on the market than the Brexit vote. So, as long as there’s no no-deal, there’s probably no need to panic yet (phew!).

Fuel

To sum up so far: So, to sum up so far: If the UK fails to agree on exit terms, we face the possibility of a hard Brexit, going outside of EU trading regulations and trading using international tariffs – which are expensive. In turn, goods imported to the UK are costing more, which goes for oil too. As a result, the value of the pound would go down, and fuel prices would increase by as much as 20% – and the shock to the economy could mean businesses withdraw from the UK and invest in safer places. However, a soft Brexit means fuel prices would remain the same, or possibly even drop slightly as confidence in the EU single market holds. Sure, there will be a level of uncertainty immediately post Brexit, which will manifest itself in petrol price fluctuations. However, having the freedom to make other deals with oil-rich countries could benefit the pound in the long term.

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When asked about the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, as politics professor Tim Bale puts it, “almost every conceivable outcomes seems just as likely as unlikely”. As the Brexit drama continues to stagger towards its end date, things are changing by the day, One thing for sure: it’s written in law that the UK will be leaving on 29th March at 11pm. But other than that, it’s impossible to say with any certainty what will happen next. Hold on to your hats, guys – it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

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Why you shouldn’t clean & tidy before your in-home interview

When someone comes over to your house, it’s perfectly natural to do a quick once over before they arrive. Plump up the cushions, brush those biscuit crumbs off the sofa, cram that pile of dirty dishes into the dishwasher – whether you’ve got family coming over or are hosting friends for a catch-up, everybody wants their house to look its best! But, when it comes to doing paid market research from home, especially in-home interviews, researchers would actually rather you didn’t have a last minute tidy up. Yes, really – however strange it might feel, put the duster down and ignore those urges to quickly spruce the place up. Here’s why:

It could affect your behaviour

A researcher isn’t there to judge the cleanliness of your kitchen sink. They just want to know how you use a product or service in your own environment, on a day-to-day basis. For example, if the study is on kitchen storage and the research is gathering information on your storage habits, they’re going to be looking at how you move around the room and utilise your current storage solutions. Tidying, cleaning, and changing the area might affect the way you do this. Basically, if you have shoved a pile of post from the kitchen table into one of the kitchen drawers that you would usually use for something else, it will have a knock-on effect when you come to use that drawer – which will have an impact on the whole study.

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It could hide areas that need improvement

The idea of an in-home interview isn’t just to have a snoop inside your house. Rather, the researcher will be looking to identify any pain points. Or potential areas of improvement that their product or service could help resolve. In order to get to know you and identify things that do and don’t work for you, they need to really understand your rituals, your routines and your traditions. How else are they going to get a true understanding of how their product can benefit your life at home? By cleaning and tidying before the interviewer arrives, you could be covering up a pain point without even knowing it. Which means the study won’t be able to provide the most accurate results.

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Researchers want authenticity

In-home interviews are carried out to gain insights into how people really live at home. In order for the research to be authentic, interviewers will observe everything. From your verbal responses to questions, to your body language as you move around your home. So truthfulness is absolutely key. Don’t worry though, the interviews aren’t intended to be intrusive and they’re not going to rummage through your knicker drawer! All researchers want is to see you in your natural environment. Whether observing how you interact with friends round or simply watching you rustle up a bite to eat. They’ll ask you a few questions about the products you are using. They want to peek into your life and see how they can help. So in order to make a difference, it’s absolutely vital that you are authentic in both your actions and your answers!

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They’ll want to see the whole the house

When taking part in market research such as an in-home interview, it’s not unusual, in some cases, for researchers to want to see every room in the house. This is to get a real feel for your needs and a deeper understanding of your living space. And by every room, yes, that includes the spare room that is currently used as a dumping ground! That means there’s no point in gathering up any mess from your coffee table and dumping it in your bedroom. Because the researcher will most likely want to see that room too. Besides, if they need to take any measurements, they will do so using a laser. So you don’t need to worry about that pile of ironing being in the way.

In conclusion, when you take part in paid market research from home, researchers are looking for ways to help, not criticise. It’s all about identifying how you interact with different products and services and uncovering pain points so that they can improve their offerings and help to solve your problems. Remember, you’re not alone. We all have mountains of washing piling up that desperately needs to be sorted – the difference is who is brave enough to show it so that solutions to real-life problems can be developed!

Want to take part in paid market research with Angelfish? As with all of our market research projects, you will get paid between £50 and £100 for taking part in an in-home interview. Paid market research from home is fun, it’s flexible, and best of all, it’s a great opportunity to get your voice heard by big brands. If you want to get involved, sign up to our panel today.

Sign Up Here.

what does Brexit mean for the UK

What does Brexit mean for the UK? (by someone who doesn’t know about politics) – Part One

There’s a lot of noise going on in British politics at the moment and, unsurprisingly, an awful lot of it is focused around the dreaded ‘B’ word. No, we don’t mean Boris Johnson – we’re talking about Brexit. The toing and froing around all things Brexit has been confusing for many, with each different expert having a seemingly different opinion on what will happen after 29th March. So, what does Brexit mean for the UK? We thought we’d get someone without a clue about politics to have a crack at working it all out.

Read on for our Brexit breakdown, and find out what on earth is really going on in the world of British politics. We’ll start with the basics, look at the main arguments for and against Brexit and take a look at what all the recent votes in the House of Commons are about. And, most importantly, we’ll address the question that concerns us the most: whether or not Milky Way Magic Stars (which aren’t currently sold outside of the EU) will still be available after Brexit or if we should stockpile them while we still can…

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Back to basics

In 2017, the UK government paid £13 billion to the EU budget. EU spending on the UK was forecast to be £4 billion, making the UK’s ‘net contribution’ an estimated £9 billion. Since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and Article 50 (the official way of telling Europe we are leaving) was invoked in March 2017, there have been endless talks about how Britain should go about leaving. The biggest hurdle? That all 27 remaining EU parliaments have to agree to the deal.

But in order to understand all that, first, we need to go back to basics and define what the EU even is – especially seeing as this was the most searched term on Google after the result of the referendum in 2016 (yes, really). The EU is basically a club of 28 countries in Europe. Each country pays to be a member, and in return, each member gets access to the single market. “What is the single market?” I hear you cry. Well, this means that the EU runs itself like one market, so you could move to Spain almost as easily as you could to Liverpool – or that’s the general idea, anyway.

The whole point of the EU forming was to break down the barriers for trading, allowing countries within the EU free movement of goods, services, capital, and labour (and also, y’know, to avoid WWIII – but that’s a whole different can of worms). It’s this last part, the movement of labour, that has caused a lot of unrest and was probably the deciding factor in the Brexit vote. But if the movement of labour is limited, then so too is the free movement of goods, services and capital. Basically, it’s au revoir to the single market as we know it.

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The single market

You’ve probably heard the term single market being thrown around a lot in the last couple of years, and that’s because it mainly relates to trade — the hottest Brexit topic. Because the EU is run as one market when it comes to international trade it means that the US, for example, has to trade with the EU has a whole, and not with Britain, France, or Germany as individual countries. It also makes it easier for Britain to trade with other EU countries, as there are reduced taxes on imported goods.

So, if France wants to sell its wine in Britain, there basically won’t be any extra costs involved in doing so — whereas if the US wanted to sell its wine in Britain, it would have to trade with the EU as a whole, and then have an additional trade deal with different taxes and additional payments to sell it in the UK too. As the biggest trade union in the world, some could say that the single market is quite a handy thing to be part of really. So, if we leave the EU, can we stay in this exclusive cool kids trading club?

Can we stay in the single market if we leave the EU?

Erm, no. Basically, the UK can’t stay in the single market without following the EU rules and regulations. If we did stay in the market but made our own rules, it wouldn’t be a single market anymore — it would be two markets, and that’s clearly not an option. So what do we do? Well, one option is regulatory alignment, which is a posh way of saying we align our rules with those of the EU so we can still have access to the single market. It’s a softer Brexit option that could help with access to the trade club, like Norway.

Norway has a deal with the EU which means they are a part of the customs union. Another word frequently thrown around, it sounds a lot more technical than it is and basically just ensures that countries charge the same import costs to non-members of the union. However, in this scenario, the EU still has all the power (meaning those who voted for Brexit aren’t that keen), and Europe is still pretty miffed at us for leaving. One thing’s for sure, though – with 44% of our exports going to the EU, if we don’t negotiate a good trade deal, our exports would be subject to import tariffs and extra admin costs.

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What does parliament keep voting on?

There seems to be some kind of vote going on in parliament every five minutes at the moment. First, there was the vote on the Chequers Deal, where Theresa May put her long-worked-on Brexit deal to parliament only for it to be historically defeated. The heaviest defeat of a Prime Minister in the democratic era, her deal was rejected by a resounding majority of 230. Ouch. Next, the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn called for a vote of no confidence, which the PM survived with a majority of 19.  

Still in Brexit deadlock, recently there were yet more votes in the House of Commons. MPs voted for an amendment by 317 votes to 301 to pass Theresa May’s Brexit deal if she can negotiate changes to the Irish backstop. The Prime Minister promised to return to the Commons with a revised deal to vote on by 13th February and hailed a “substantial and sustainable” Commons majority for leaving the EU. The only problem is, the EU immediately said the backstop wasn’t open for re-negotiation; this could make it pretty tricky for the PM to get a revised deal for the Commons to vote on when the EU has already made it clear they aren’t going to budge.

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What does this all mean? Basically, that as Theresa May heads back to Brussels for the billionth time, the Brexit saga continues to limp along. The Commons rejected a vote to extend Article 50 beyond the end of March, which means that D-Day is still looming in just two months time. And with No Deal looking more likely, the pound has dropped pretty sharply too.

As the drama continues to unfold, stay tuned for ‘Part Two’ of this blog series – what does Brexit mean for the UK? – where we look in more detail at the impact Brexit will have on our day-to-day lives. No need to panic, though! We’ve done a bit of research and it seems that for now, Magic Stars are most likely still going to be available. Phew!