They say a week is a long time in politics. If this week is anything to go by, that saying is true!
With only two weeks to go until the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 29th March, there have been frantic and at times confusing scenes in the House of Commons this week. Earlier in the week, we saw MPs vote to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement for a second time. This led to a series of motions tabled considering whether the UK should leave without any deal, seek to extend Article 50 to hold a second referendum, or try to delay Article 50 for other reasons.
As things stand, it appears that government is facing three options; seek approval for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement in a third meaningful vote next week, ask the EU for permission to extend Article 50, or withdraw the Article 50 notification and cancel Brexit. It seems extremely unlikely the final option will happen.
Extending Article 50 requires approval from each of the 27 EU member states, which might not be forthcoming unless a clear (and different) plan of action is presented and going by the voting record of the first two meaningful votes on May’s withdrawal agreement, even the principle of ‘third time lucky’ looks remotely unlikely! This leaves the default position of leaving the EU on 29th March without a withdrawal agreement in place.
Follow years of rhetoric about the likely economic impact of such an event, it’s unsurprising that many are worried about the personal finance implications of a no-deal Brexit.
New research by insurer SunLife has found that most over 50s think we will end up leaving the EU without a deal. 37% said they believe Britain will leave the EU with no deal and 32% thought some type of deal would be agreed before leaving the EU. The rest said they didn’t know. There was however optimism that the 29th March Article 50 deadline would be delayed, with 46% expecting a delay to Brexit. 52% of those surveyed don’t believe there will be a second referendum. But if there was, it appears that views on whether to leave or remain are broadly the same as they were in 2016, despite subsequent events. Of the 53% of respondents that voted leave in 2016, 87% would vote the same again, 7.2% would change their minds and vote remain while 6% wouldn’t vote. Of the 42% that voted remain, 82% would still vote remain, but 16% would now change their minds and vote leave.
The most common Brexit concerns for the over 50s are about the cost of living and pensions. Those surveyed said their top five concerns about Brexit were a rising cost of living, pension values falling, EU workers leaving vital services (including the NHS), the impact on the future for their children and grandchildren, and EU policies adversely affecting the UK. Their top five biggest hopes for Brexit were sovereignty and independence, saving the EU membership fee (the often quoted ‘Brexit dividend’), fewer terrorist attacks, a falling cost of living, and pension values rising.
SunLife marketing director Ian Atkinson said:
“Regardless of whether people over 50 think the process is being handled well or not, our research reveals that they are not flighty, make-a-decision-on-a-whim types. They have principles and beliefs which stand firm, whatever the storm.”
“However, while over 50s – like the rest of the UK – remain divided on Brexit, money seems to be the primary concern for both in a post-Brexit world, with the value of pensions falling, houses prices falling and the cost of living rising all top concerns for both sides of the debate.
“Similarly, saving the EU fee and the cost of living falling is what the over 50s are most looking forward to post-Brexit, so it seems, whatever happens, over 50s think their finances will be impacted.”
With the outcome of Brexit still so uncertain, now is an excellent time to engage with a financial planning firm like Wells Gibson and have a Wealth Plan which brings clarity, contentment and certainty to your financial life.