The EU Referendum is upon us

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EU HOmeThis is the week that the country goes to the polling station to voice their opinion on the EU in a referendum to decide if the majority favour staying in the EU or if the general public believes we’d be better off pulling out.

Opinions are widely divided and whilst we’ll obviously be discussing the best way to work with whatever the result may be, we wouldn’t dream of trying to advise you which way to vote – Tamebay isn’t a political blog. There are of course small businesses arguments both for staying in the EU and for leaving.

Remain Case:

It goes without saying that border free trade is a massive advantage, the ability to sell to any of 28 countries with ever more unified trading policies (such as common consumer rights across the EU) makes an awful lot of sense.

We also know that many UK online sellers source products from other EU countries. Being able to do this with a minimum of paperwork and no customs duties to pay is an advantage. The more product and service regulations harmonised across the EU in theory the easier it is to do business with other EU countries.

It appears likely that the marketplace platforms we trade on would probably find it easier if the UK stayed in the EU. I have less concern for marketplaces however as companies such as eBay and Amazon are certainly big enough to foot the cost of any changes if we did vote to leave.

Leave Case

Just as there are arguments for remaining in the EU, there are plenty of reasons to think that leaving the EU would be desirable. One obvious reason for leaving is that the amount of red tape spewing from the EU causes a higher burden on small businesses in comparison to larger companies. Small businesses have fewer resources and personal to comply with the EU edicts.

A case in point was the VAT MOSS fiasco which required every business no matter how small to register to collect VAT if they sold even on digital download to an EU country. In the end HRMC decided that although the EU told you you had to register, that for VAT purposes HMRC didn’t want to class you as a business (even though they’d quite rightly class you as a business for your income tax!). Likewise the Cookie law was a waste of everyone’s time.

Even with a “Leave” vote would we quit the EU?

We should remember that the referendum is not a legally binding decision, but a statement of preference from the populace to our elected government.

It appears quite unlikely that enough MPs would vote to pass legislation to leave the EU even if the government were to introduce the necessary bills to do so. Certainly nothing will change the day after the referendum or even in the near future. It would take years to disentangle the country from the EU and even under Article 50 it would take two years before the UK left the EU.

What may happen this week is a vote for the status quo and we can all get back to work happily trading across the EU and simply wait to see what the next round of EU directives bring and assess if they are helpful or unhelpful to marketplace traders. The alternative is a possibly prolonged bout of uncertainty as we wait to see what trading relationship we end up with when selling to our European neighbours.

We have faith in small businesses

What we do know is that over the past decade or so both Dan and I have met hundreds (probably thousands) of small businesses and you are remarkably innovative and agile. We also know that cross border trade started on eBay over two decades ago both within the EU and across the entire planet.

Whatever the referendum result and regardless of what change staying in the EU or leaving the EU brings, by and large small businesses will flourish and are probably more likely to embrace any changes better than some of the larger businesses in the country.

36 Responses

  1. if you want to stop the subsidy of posted sales from china that undermines many of our uk sales efforts – then vote OUT

    the deal was ‘brokered’ by the UN – and will have been arranged with the EU – not us

    as a result we pay others to undermine ourselves

    your elected (un)representatives at westminster and brussels can’t do anything about it in current circumstances – even if they wish to

    time for a sharp brexit!

  2. to follow VAT MOSS

    the EU will soon announce a single europoean tax reference

    call that the status quo?

    it seems we have little idea of the real EU status quo and that’s how the politicoes would have it

  3. Good article.
    As far as small traders with any kind of business with any of the other member states, I can’t see how you could vote leave.

    The Vatmoss was a debacle but there seemed to be some fault with HMRC who ignored initial advice on the impact it would have. Once they realised that, thresholds were introduced.

    Interesting point on cookie legislation. I wonder how different the UK government alone would have handled that and if there would have been conflict with EU and the rest of the world. Pause for thought fur future legislation. Do we have any legislators who understand the internet?

    As for wider issues, the best and most influential courier company in the UK at the moment is the German state’s DPD. I can’t see them leaving but Brexit could end up making it difficult for them and other couriers leaving us with less choice and higher prices.

    Changes in border trade could lead to more red tape, not less. A different agreement with countries around the world could open up massive problems for deliveries.

    The more general arguments fur leaving don’t ring true to me. Democracy, the EU structure is more democratic than the British government and a good check on it.
    Sovereignty; faceless bureaucrats end up legislating whatever we do. With the EU we have a veto that mostly doesn’t get used because our faceless bureaucrats agree with the legislation.
    The economy; on paper we send a lot of money to the EU that we don’t get back in money but most businesses know that they invest in one way and get back in another. Starbucks must waste fortunes a day on paper cups but they wouldn’t sell as much coffee if they didn’t use them.

  4. I’ll vote leave do not see any advantage in staying. They’re not what I voted for all those years ago, just load of unelected jobs worths on salaries that set them up for life.

  5. UK retailers selling to the UK are better off if we stay. Leave and UK customers will have less spending money in their pockets and the pound plummets so the price of imported wholesale goods will rise squeezing margins. UK retailers who sell exclusively overseas may believe they could be better off if the pound plummets as goods for sale will be more attractively priced however the increased costs of the imported goods could offset this potential gain so may not be a win situation. Also for all the talk of tariffs if the UK leaves wonder how this might impact online sales? So for me it is a stay but I can see how others would benefit from a leave depending on your line of business.

  6. All I know is I have a Royal Mail sack of sales going off to the EU and two going to the UK. Margin wise that one sack going to the EU makes me a lot more money than the two UK ones, I simply fetch a better price in say Spain Italy or Germany.
    I think it is essential we remain in the single market without interruption for e traders. I buy most my stock in the UK and sell on all the main EU sites both on Amazon and eBay. My website also has more customers from the EU and ROW the world than the UK.
    I had all this 2 years ago with the Scottish referendum and had no idea what was going to happen on the Friday after the vote, it was all as clear as mud.
    I think what is important here is to understand the world will not end on Friday as all the Panic mongers and press will be going wild if it is a leave vote, and just keep trading and plan for a life without the single market. I have 0 trust in the Politicians to deliver trade deals in a timely manner and any trade deals they negotiate will not be for the benefit of SME’s.
    I will vote to remain in, and not really on the single market question I see my business’s future in the EU more than the UK and want all the benefits that come with being a EU member state.

  7. Does anyone think a “no ” vote would result in our leaving? It’s not binding on anyone. Would the next government be prepared to introduce exit legilation? It would take years. Would MPs agree to approve it? House of Lords? No – it’s not going to happen regardless of what the vote is.

  8. From a business perspective life is so easy right now. I buy most of my stock from within the EU, and ship about 25% of sales there. Why change that? And I do believe in 8-10 years time we would see leaving the EU as one of the craziest things we ever did as a nation, with London no longer the European financial capital, with our car manufacturers and pharma companies putting new facilities elsewhere in the EU rather than investing further in the UK. Every bit of the wealth we lose will impact us all in our business and our personal lives. But this isn’t just about business.

    I want my children and grandchildren to live in a country with the fantastic freedom of movement and action we have had as an EU member, where as a nation we are tolerant and generous, where we are outward looking with a vibrant economy and society, and where we share this with as many other nations as possible. My generation has never had to go to war, and we should never underestimate the peace we have been fortunate to enjoy. Europe is now a better place, and we need to build every link that continues to make it so for the future.

  9. What you need to do is separate the politics out from the trade in the EU.

    But of course, you can’t.

    Which is why it’s a difficult decision.

    Getting out will be messy, prolonged and will probably make life difficult for business in the short term.

    Staying in means swallowing whatever the EU throws at us in the coming years, however unpalatable.

    Of course, the EU could solve the problem for us by collapsing of its own accord.

  10. Despite my love of free trade and cheap goods, I’ll vote leave purely to let the government know how angry I am that I was never asked if I wanted half the world to be allowed to enter my country whenever they felt like it, by fair means or foul.
    Despite the fact my ancestors (And those of many other tamebay contributors) fought in order to do their ‘duty’ to their country, multitudes of cowards are being allowed/welcomed in.
    If you don’t understand what I mean, just ask those living in areas with refugees, how many of the men aged 20-45 have war wounds, and how many never saw battle because they ran away like cowards….. yet still they are permitted to enter a country which is free because of the efforts and sacrifices of those who never ran away.
    How about we force those idle Brits who are sitting on their bottoms all day, to do whatever job is available, before they are given any money to go to the bookies and off licence with ?
    I live in a smallish community, where there are plenty of able bodied people unwilling to work, yet in many cases, workers from Romania, Hungary etc are doing those jobs, paying taxes (some of which support the workshy), and also sending money to family abroad (In a small town it’s easy to know how often the post office send via moneygram for example).
    If the lazy were forced to work, we’d save on benefit payments and probably save a bit on healthcare as the workers would be healthier overall.
    in addition, working Brits would spend their money locally rather than sending it overseas, thus helping many local uk economies.

  11. Hi

    I’m voting leave, just so PayPal get whats coming to them, they have closed thousands of small business down for no good reason, even If you report them to the financial ombudsman service and win they just hide behind some shitty little office in Luxembourg, you have to complain to Luxembourg and take them to court there, where as if we leave the eu they will have to be fully regulated in the uk, just like turkey wanted them to do something to do business in there country they didn’t like it so they left, id be happy if they did the same in uk once the fos properly regulates them but I highly doubt it a bunch of criminals and muppets

  12. The biggest risk is staying in the EU its a true financial and political mess that his hidden from the main stream news in the UK if we stay in get ready for home tough years ahead

  13. I voted in the 1975 Referendum to Join the EEC. That was a friendley grouping of like minded European Countries that in the early days was a pleasure to be a Member of. What we have now is a United States of Europe ruled not by an Elected Government but by Unelected Bureaucrats who usually totally ignore the wishes of the European Population. It is no longer a pleasure to be a part of. Indeed for most of the population it is a huge millstone around our necks. So lets vote Leave and get back to being able to make our own decisions.

    It has been suggested that if weleave Europe will put all sorts of barriers including high tarriffs against the UK trading with the EU. Nobody seems to realise that if the EU raises barriers against us then the same barriers will be raised against the EU selling to the UK. Do you really expect that Ford, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Renault, Fiat etc will be happy with that. Their cars and all other European Exports to the UK will be considerably more expensive. They sell about 1.5 times as much to us as we sell to them. So the EU will be worse off than we would. Honda and Nissan manufacture Cars in the UK. So instead of selling to the EU they would be replacing the EU manufactured Cars that we no longer took because of the Tarriffs. So gradually VW, Ford etc would disappear from the UK roads. Just how long do you think that the EU Car Manufacturers would put up with that. They would be in their respective Governments Offices and the EU Offices thumping the desks for the relationship to be ‘normalised’. Its in their interests.

  14. It’s all about us us , now and money. The Remainers have been royaly conned.

    If our economy was as bad as Lithuania, where the population has decreased by a third, you’d all be voting out. Meanwhile, Switzerland’s economy is flying, twice as good as ours, and they are out of Europe.

    Remainers have absolutely no vision. Its all about here and now.

    I’m voting out for my Kids.

  15. Very simply because Switzerland fundamentally have to do what the EU say, including free movement of people. In other words, operating on the same basis as Switzerland wouldn’t save us money, wouldn’t change immigration, and we would have absolutely no influence and control over the decisions the EU make. So what would be the point of leaving? Switzerland on the other hand have never tried to join, but found it necessary to enter these agreements with the EU, despite their disadvantages, to stop their economy from stagnating.

    Incidentally, non-EU Switzerlands takes 4.5 times more EU immigrants per head of population than the UK, because of the their agreement to free movement of people.

    Frankly, can’t say I have ever come across an Austrian who has any view on my guts.


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