What leaving the EU could mean for you and your family

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  • Britain has officially voted to leave the European Union, with 52% of the vote to the remain campaign’s 48%.

    David Cameron has since resigned as Prime Minister, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty about the future that lies ahead. Many of the major decisions have yet to be made, but what most of us want to know is the impact that the decision could have on our daily lives.

    Dependent on the strength of the pound and Britain’s place within the new economy, aspects of life as varied as the NHS to maternity pay to travel could change forever under Brexit.

    Here’s what the leave vote could mean for you and your family:

    The cost of your weekly shop could go up

    ‘You’re going to see in increase in consumer prices from Brexit and most of that is going to hit the middle income,’ Swati Dhingra, assistant professor at LSE’s Department of Economics and Centre for Economic Performance told Mashable. According to the Independent, initially the rises would be mostly hit imported goods – food and clothes being the most obvious – ‘but inflation has a tendency to spread and to gain its own momentum,’ meaning overall costs on all of your purchases could go up. Before the decision was announced, the International Monetary Fund warned that British households will be ‘considerably poorer’ within a year if the country votes to leave.

    The job market could be unstable

    Some companies may withdraw from the UK in favour of other EU countries, putting roles at risk – both banking giant JP Morgan and car manufacturer Toyota have said they may reduce operations in the event of Brexit. However, Commons leader Chris Grayling, a member of the Leave campaign, told the BBC that Brexit ‘is about creating the opportunity for more jobs. European Union regulations cost jobs in this country. They increase costs for business. They make it less desirable to employ people in the UK’. Reduced migration may also open up more roles for British citizens.

    Annual holiday allowance could change

    Under the current system, you are entitled to 20 days of holiday, plus the eight designated Bank Holidays. However, this policy came about as a result of the EU Working Time Directive, and so in theory the leave vote could leave this open to review. The same goes for the 48-hour cap on working, and the daily rest periods that are also under the directive, which could also be revised.

    Maternity pay could drop

    In the days building up to the referendum, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the body representing British trade unions, pointed out that maternity pay is another area covered under the EU Working Time Directive, so this could also be under threat. ‘If you are going to have a baby, knowing whether or not, or how much paid maternity leave you are going to get might make you think quite hard about how you are going to vote,’ she advised.

    Holiday prices could increase

    In theory, overseas travel could become more expensive, and there may be more limitations to your travel within Europe – for instance, you’ll now have to go through passport control when you arrive at and depart your destination, and whilst it’s unlikely, a visa system could technically be introduced. The terms of the European Health Travel Card will also need to be renegotiated, and whilst roaming charges were due to be abolished in 2017, this precedent may now be subject to change, as the policy was under EU rules.

    Services within the NHS could alter

    Much of the Leave campaign’s rhetoric was centred on reducing the burden on the NHS in the event of less immigration, and with migrant women having 2.28 children to British woman’s 1.98, for instance, this could hold up. However, outside of the EU, it may become more difficult to get access to new medications, as pharmaceutical companies would be more likely to launch in larger markets like the EU first. Social care could also be hit significantly, as UK nationals are reluctant to apply for low paying roles, and an estimated 6% of jobs in the sector are filled by EU migrants – equating to 80,000 people in England alone.

    More school places could become available

    Another strong point from the Leave camp was less immigration freeing up space in overstretched schools, estimating that 261,000 children from the EU could have entered the UK education system if Remain had won. However, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, told Schools Week that funding for schools could be interrupted by the Brexit process. ‘Schools could face cuts if we experience the threatened austerity budget,’ he said.

    House prices could go down

    In the event of any time of instability such as an election or referendum, estate agent Winkworth advises that buyers are much more cautious. Credit Suisse says that demand for housing could go down, as immigration lessens and Britain is less recognised as a financial hub, but if you’ve ever considered moving abroad, the process is likely to become more difficult and expensive. ‘There may be implications for UK buyers looking in mainland Europe should we exit the EU,’ says David King, head of Winkworth’s international department.