The UK has voted to Leave the EU, but we must not leave the Single Market

Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:

“This is a vote for Britain to open up to the world: to strike free trade agreements with Asia’s growing economies, forge deeper links with the other Anglosphere countries, and make Britain’s economy as competitive as possible.
“However it is clear that markets have taken a severe hit, much of which is down to uncertainty about what will happen next. It is crucial that the UK does not leave the Single Market even as it leaves the EU, in order to reassure markets and avoid a major economic shock.
“This ‘EEA Option’ will take the economic risk out of leaving and avoid most of the economic losses that Remainers warned leaving would entail. Staying in the Single Market for a period of five to ten years would give the UK the time it needs to properly disengage from Europe as a process, not a one-off event. It is also important that the government does not trigger Article 50 immediately – we need as much time as we can get to negotiate Britain’s exit.
“Of all the arguments for Leaving, the one unifying feature is a desire for sovereignty and UK having control over our own policies. Though immigration did motivate people it was as much the sense of having ‘no control’ as it was about there being too many people. It would be a mistake to assume that this is a strictly anti-immigrant vote.”

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Flora Laven-Morris, Head of Communications, at | 07584 778207.

Roland Smith's EEA option receives further attention in The Daily Telegraph

With the polls as close as they are ahead of Thursday's vote, media attention has increasingly been turning to what Brexit would actually look like. Roland Smith's brilliant EEA option has been receiving ample attention, as has our YouGov poll. The Daily Telegraph reported:

Roland Smith, an Adam Smith Institute fellow, and a proponent of a staged exit from the EU, says a move back into EFTA and the EEA would result in powers over agriculture, fishing, justice, security, and others being returned to the UK.
These alone will “be enough to be getting on with, bearing in mind that we have spent 43 years outsourcing all our capacity in these areas”, Smith says. “Actually getting experts in these areas now will be a real issue”.
Britain’s capacity for negotiating international trade deals has become severely atrophied, since for decades Brussels has done them on its behalf, and recruiting and training new negotiators would become a priority.
A clean break, which would see the UK suddenly regaining every one of its powers from the EU, would overwhelm Whitehall, Smith suggests. The issues the UK would have to deal with by stepping back into EFTA and the EEA would be “more than enough to chew on for a while”.
A large proportion of support for withdrawal is motivated by opposition to EU migration. An immediate solution that did not address those concerns could face backlash. However, polling by the Adam Smith Institute and YouGov suggests that Britons overall are willing to accept the compromise, if it was only a temporary move.

Read the full Daily Telegraph article here

Decriminalisation not far enough says ASI's Sam Dumitriu in the Express

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) have called forpersonal possession and use of all illegal drugs to no longer be considered a criminal offence. Our own Sam Dumitriu thinks decriminalisation isn't far enough:

“The Royal Society for Public Health is right to call for decriminalisation. The evidence is clear, decriminalisation works. Since Portugal decriminalised personal use and possession in 2001, drug-related deaths have fallen, as have HIV infections. Likewise, fears that this would encourage greater drug usage, especially amongst young people, were unfounded. For 15 to 24 year olds, drug use actually fell.
“But, there are still problems that decriminalisation doesn't solve. It doesn't eliminate street dealing, it doesn't block access to drugs for under-18 year olds, and it doesn't allow us to regulate the purity of drugs. It should go further and call for full legalisation, which would allow us to take drug profits out of the hands of criminal gangs and protect users from tainted supplies.”

Read the full Daily Express article here.

ASI President Dr. Madsen Pirie makes his predictions for June 22nd in City AM

Dr. Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute, made his market predictions for June 22nd, the day before the referendum, in City AM:

The stock markets have proved less susceptible to wild gyrations in response to referendum news. However, the average guess is that the FTSE 100 will drop by around 120 points - two per cent - in the next two weeks to close at 6,060 on 22 June. The range of estimates for where the index will end up was between 5,890 (Madsen Pirie, Adam Smith Institute) to 6,313 (Jeremy Cook, World First).
Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute agreed that volatility will jump, especially if the Leave side looked like they can triumph: "As it becomes clear that Brexit might win, people will sell pounds and UK shares to hedge against an anticipated short-term drop in both".

Read the City AM article in full here. 

The Sunday Times calls for more discussion of ASI Brexit option

'Brexit debate lacks Norwegian model' wrote Cormac Lucey for the Sunday Times this weekend. Arguing that the discussion of the model was too scarce in the Brexit debate Lucey noted:

Analysis of the Norwegian option by the Adam Smith Institute concluded that “EEA countries have a market-based relationship with the EU by having full single market access. They are free of the EU’s political union ambitions, and can class themselves as self-governing nation states.”
The analysis further argued that the EEA position was outside most of the EU’s “common” policies — common agricultural policy, common fisheries policy, common foreign and defence policy, and justice and home affairs measures — but maintains passporting rights for financial services companies — important for London — along with continued participation in some useful science and education programmes. The Norwegian model doesn’t sound too bad at all.

Read the full Times article here. 

ASI Brexit poll results get widespread coverage across national media titles

The latest YouGov and ASI Brexit poll figures, revealing 2-to-1 support for the EEA option in the case of a vote to leave the EU, have received significant media attention including the front page of the Sunday Telegraph Business section. 

The Telegraph reported:

British voters have voiced their overwhelming support for a “Norway-style” arrangement in the event of a decision to leave the European Union that would ensure that the UK could retain its access to the single market.
A new poll, commissioned by the Adam Smith Institute think tank has revealed that support for a deal along the lines of the Nordic country’s relationship with the continental bloc outweighs opposition by two-to-one.

The i:

Norway style status wanted: Britons would like to see a 'Norway-style' agreement if the country chose to leave the EU, according to research. More than half of British voters wanted to keep access to the single market after a Brexit, but not be obliged to follow all EU rules, the poll by the Adam Smith Institute found. 

Daily Express:

A YouGov poll found 57 per cent of Britons believe the Government should consider a deal with the EU similar to Norway's. This would involve retaining freedom of movement and some EU regulations in exchange for full access to the single market.
Just 24 per cent said the option should be off the table if Britons vote to quit the 28-member bloc in two weeks' time. The Adam Smith Institute which commissioned the poll, believes the move would allow a "safe, steady process of disengagement" from the EU.

City AM:

Executive director of the ASI Sam Bowman said the deal would keep the UK in the EEA, thereby taking "the risk out of leaving the EU, providing the time it would take to come up with a unique British solution".
Bowman added: "Voters recognise that the EEA option is coherent with leaving the EU, with large numbers of Leave supporters saying that they would support this arrangement.

The Guardian reported:

Poll position A YouGov poll for the Adam Smith Institute says 57% of those polled say they would favour the UK moving to a “Norway-style” relationship with the EU in the event of a Brexit vote.
Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, said: This would mean keeping free moment of people in exchange for remaining in the single market, and would be a safe way to leave the EU that would avoid major economic risks or disruption.
If Britain did vote to leave the EU, the poll finds, 73% of remain voters think the first priority for the government should be “ensuring free trade with the rest of the European Union”. For leave voters, the key issue is immigration, with 73% saying “reducing the amount of EU immigration into Britain” would be top of the government’s to-do list.

Sam Bowman reacts to claims pro-Remain MPs will use majority to stay in Single Market

The BBC claimed last week that pro-European MPs were planning on using their majority in the House of Commons to keep the UK in the Single Market in the event of a vote to leave. The Guardian reported:

Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the think tank the Adam Smith Institute, which has advocated the UK leaving the EU in stages, welcomed the possible intervention in the Commons. He said:
"This is a referendum on EU membership, not the single market, and MPs would be right to keep us in the single market if we vote to leave the EU. Keeping Britain in the single market would take the main economic risks out of leaving the EU, avoiding the doomsday scenarios out-lined by the Treasury and others.
“The EEA option outlined in a recent Adam Smith Institute report would give the UK economic security while allowing it to leave the EU. In many respects it gives us the best of both worlds – indeed the remain side has emphasised little else of value about the EU during the campaign apart from the single market.
“The EU is not a prison, but the remain camp risks portraying it as such. It is possible to leave without risking serious economic harm, and staying in the single market as a step towards a long-term settlement would give the UK that safe route out.”

Read the full Guardian article here. 

PRESS RELEASE: YouGov Brexit Poll: 2-to-1 support for EEA option with half of Leave camp supporting Norway-style relationship

  • YouGov poll finds 2-to-1 support for EEA Brexit option
  • Twice as many voters pro Norway style relationship with EU than against
  • Almost half of Leavers want Norway option to be considered despite recent claims to the contrary
  • Majority of UK voters would actively support Norway style relationship in immediate aftermath of vote to Leave
  • No clear mandate to reduce immigration at the cost of securing economic stability

A YouGov poll released this morning reveals that the majority of voters would support a Norway-style relationship with the European Union in the event of a vote to Leave, involving retaining freedom of movement and some EU regulations in exchange for full access to the single market.
The new poll, commissioned by the Adam Smith Institute, found that a majority (57%) of Britons believe that the government should consider a relationship with the EU similar to Norway’s, more than double the number opposed to it (24%). And it’s not just Remainers who support the strategy.
Contrary to recent claims that the EEA option would be a ‘betrayal’ of a vote to Leave, those who oppose the Norway model do not make up the majority (45%), and 42% of Leavers stated that they did in fact want the Norway option to be considered following a vote for Brexit.
More than half of all respondents (54%) said that they would actively support such a Norway-style agreement as a transitional arrangement for the five-to-ten years after a Brexit vote, more than twice the number who said they would oppose such an arrangement (25%).
Britons were evenly split on whether protecting free trade with the EU (41%) or reducing immigration (41%) should be the government’s first priority following a vote to Leave, with 18% unsure, showing that there is no clear mandate to reduce immigration at the cost of securing economic stability even in the event of Brexit.
Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:
"By a 2-to-1 margin, the majority of voters support the EEA Option if Britain leaves the EU as a transitional arrangement over five to ten years. This would mean keeping free moment of people in exchange for remaining in the single market, and would be a safe way to leave the EU that would avoid major economic risks or disruption.
“Voters are clear that the EEA Option should be on the table for a post-Brexit government, with even 42% of Leavers saying that the government should consider this option. Our data shows that voters prefer a safe, steady process of disengagement from the European Union compared to a short, sharp shock – even if that safer process meant keeping freedom of movement for up to ten years.
"People’s reasons for leaving the EU are varied and this polling rejects attempts by some commentators to frame the referendum as being about immigration alone. Many Leave voters care about sovereignty and ending Britain's membership of the EU’s common policies far more than they do about immigration. Whatever the result on June 23rd, we will be voting on membership of the European Union, nothing more and nothing less. To pretend that it is “actually” about this or that is simply wrong.”

Notes to editors:

*Survey of 1751 GB adults commissioned by the Adam Smith Institute and conducted by YouGov between 6th-8th June 2016.
The Adam Smith Institute is a free market, libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.
For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Flora Laven-Morris, Head of Communications, at | 07584 778207.


Today is Tax Freedom Day, the first day of the year where Britons stop working for the taxman and start working for themselves, and the media have come out in force to help celebrate and spread the word.

Allister Heath wrote in The Daily Telegraph's Business pages:

The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) has developed a brilliant device to illustrate exactly how much of our hard-earned national output we are forced to hand over to the politicians for them to spend as they see hit.
Their annual Tax Freedom Day marks the day of the year when Britons stop working to pay their taxes and start earning for themselves, rather than the taxman.

Lauren Davidson also covered the story on The Daily Telegraph.

The ASI and TPA joint letter to the editor featured in The Times leading slot.

The Daily Mail ran a piece in print alongside three Mail Online (second, third) articles:

We might be halfway through the year, but today is the first in 2016 when workers get to keep all their wages instead of paying the taxman. It is Tax Freedom Day – and in a clear sign the Government has ratcheted up its charges, it has come four days later than last year. Researchers at the Adam Smith Institute said Britons had to work 154 days this year to pay their taxes.

The Daily Express ran an article in print and two pieces on Express Online (second):

Institute director Eamonn Butler said: “The Treasury hates Tax Freedom Day because they don’t want us to know how much tax we really pay. They conceal the tax burden with stealth taxes we don’t realise we’re paying."

City AM ran a front page box out to Sam Bowman's comment piece in The Forum, as well as their own piece on City AM online:

Ask a random person on the street how much tax they pay and they’ll usually guess around 20 per cent of their income. That’s the basic rate of income tax, and it’s easy to forget taxes like VAT, council tax, beer and wine duties, air passenger duty, motoring taxes and stamp duty.

The Mirror focused on our serfdom in their two pieces of coverage for Tax Freedom Day:

The stealth taxes that mean we've become a nation of 'mediaeval serfs' working for the Government. It now takes an astonishing 142 days' work just to pay your taxes - the longest for 15 years.

The Metro also covered the story noting that 'Today is the day you stop working to pay taxes and start earning cash for yourself'.

Head of Research, Ben Southwood, made the case for lowering taxes on the Spectator Coffee House blog, with TFD also appearing in the Money Digest.

Ben also gave an in depth analysis of what Tax Freedom Day really means for CapX, and Sam Bowman's article on Tax Freedom Day appeared on Conservative Home.

Ben Southwood appeared on BBC Radio 4 news bulletin throughout the day as well as Share Radio in the morning. 

As well as over 300 regional papers and radio stations, other coverage of note included the Sky News Yorkshire Post, The Week, Guido Fawkes, and Economia.