The future of our nation: How Harrogate and District students will be voting

The UK voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent in Thursday's referendum.
The UK voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent in Thursday's referendum.

The EU referendum has sparked more political interest in today's younger generations than any general election in their lifetime - so we asked Harrogate & Districts students which way they will vote today (June 23)...

Natasha Eustance, Head Girl, Harrogate High School - IN

To me, everything seems to be based on speculation. If we leave the EU our economy will suffer - how do we know ? If we stay in the EU, it will mean a staffing crisis for the NHS - how do we know ?

Some say we are really too small and too weak to be successful ruling ourselves. But we don't know. It's too unknown. It's all too much of a risk for me.

I don't know any different. I have a really simple view on it but surely, as a tiny nation, we are better joining forces with other members of the EU.

Marie Tolan, Head Girl, St John Fisher High School - IN

I believe that it is essential that Britain remains in the European Union. The potential economic fall out of a vote to leave is an unnecessary risk, which we do not need in this period of relative economic stability.

Britain fought hard to make its entry into the EEC during a particular low point in Britain’s economic performance. A withdrawal from Europe would lead to a fall in public services funding of over £36 billion while only 1.5% of our GDP is spent on Europe.

In the renegotiation of Britain’s membership, Cameron established a British opt out for a closer union to prevent further political integration. This enables Britain to have more control over domestic policies while maintaining its influence in European decision making. I believe that our influence in shaping Europe is very important and our strong voice is listened to. A vote to leave will diminish our status as a leading world nation at a time when good leadership and governance has never been more important.

Brody Anderson, Head Boy, St John Fisher High School - OUT

I believe that the U.K should take up the chance of independence from the EU. Despite the benefits presented by trade and a spatial division of labour across the Union, voting to leave presents a new avenue of opportunity for the United Kingdom to stand independently on its own two-feet and pursue new avenues in international relations and with the composition of the economy.

London is a global hub of trade and finance which increases the likelihood of new relationships and agreement to take form. A period of change represents a time of new innovation and potential and I believe this chance should be seized to allow the U.K to walk its own path.

Alex Howell (Y13), St Aidan's C of E High School - IN

‘I’m going to be voting remain. Although I don’t think leaving will be catastrophic, in the current fragile economic climate I think any short term shock from leaving the EU could have negative consequences. And if we stay there can always be the opportunity to hold another referendum or the government could take us out if the situation deteriorated further.’

Megan Richards (Y13) St Aidan's C of E High School - IN

‘I’m voting in because I don’t want to isolate ourselves from the rest of Europe. With the immigrant question, we have many skilled doctors and nurses who are not British who fill a skill shortage in the UK. Many immigrants also fill jobs that British people don’t want to do. We have to abide by EU laws anyway, so it’s better to be sitting round the table to help shape the rules.’

Sophie Lee, Head Girl, Rossett High School - IN

In my opinion Britain should stay in the EU. From a student's perspective allowing young people to study and find work abroad strengthens ties with other countries.

I believe that we currently work well with different member states who help us with medical, scientific and environmental advances.

We are also dependent on the trade links with other EU countries and so our economic growth may be slower if we were to leave. Therefore, I believe in the concept of ‘stronger together’.

Daniel Corazzi, Head Boy, Rossett High School - IN

The current BREXIT debate, in my opinion, rests on two main areas. The first is the economy; it seems that staying in is the safer option because we are able to predict our place in the world market.

Leaving will naturally cause some uncertainty. The second issue is our identity as a nation. We have to decide whether we want to remain part of a holistic community to bring Europe closer together, or to leave and broaden our horizons by strengthening our relationships with the rest of the world.

Which of these two issues is of most importance to the British public will ultimately decide the result of the referendum.

Megan Lee, Head Girl, Wetherby High School - Unsure

I am yet still undecided on whether to stay in or leave the EU, due to the many pros and cons and the confusion regarding what we are and aren't being told by our politicians.

At the minute I am more swayed to staying in due to the trade and employment benefits, as more than 50% of our exports go to European countries and we have agreed trading standards that Britain benefits from.

James Wilson, Head Boy, Wetherby High School - IN

Yes I am planning on voting in the EU Referendum. My vote will be to stay in the EU. This is because I believe we are stable as a nation while being a member of the EU; leaving may leave us with some unforeseen issues.

Will Giddings (Y12), Harrogate Grammar School - OUT

As a young person it may be hard to believe why we should leave the European Union, however I believe that the control that we could gain as a country by leaving would provide us with greater opportunity for success in the future.

This is certainly the case with the economic arguments; while EU trade does make up 54% of UK exports, the EU as a trading area grew slower than any other continent, except Antarctica.

So the question should be about the quality of the trading areas rather than the volume. However, this may not be so much of a problem if the UK could forge trade agreements alongside the EU however the customs union rules mean that the UK has no power to do so.

Lack of control does not only apply to the economy, but our membership fee, rules and regulations and immigration, that is why I believe we should vote to leave the European Union on 23rd June.

Emily Parrett (Y12), Harrogate Grammar School - IN

Leaving the EU could be a massive mistake in terms of trade. Those supporting the Brexit talk about the numerous trade opportunities leaving the EU would provide, but none of these trade deals are actually set in stone.

If we were to pull out of the EU we would be giving up guaranteed tariff and quota free trade, for uncertainty over who we can actually trade with. All the trade agreements negotiated by the EU would have to be renegotiated by the UK, and when we are in a trade deficit, this could be damaging.

Over 50% of UK trade is with the EU, and around 3.5 million jobs are directly linked to the EU. It seems completely pointless to risk the Brexit when we are so invested in the EU.