People up and down the country can ill afford for silly season squabbles to distract us from the complexity of Brexitby Andrew Carter / August 8, 2017 / Leave a comment
August is traditionally the start of the media silly season in the UK, but this year it got going earlier than usual in the UK with the Government providing much of the shenanigans. In the past month, British politics has been dominated by reports of aspiring Cabinet ministers locking horns over the Tory leadership after “too much warm prosecco,” and by the very public squabble among ministers over how quickly and suddenly Brexit would be implemented – both of which has done little to inspire confidence that the Government has a coherent plan for exiting the EU.
However, amidst the summer politicking and parties, a new report by Centre for Cities should make for sobering reading for Government ministers, particularly those pushing for a hard Brexit. The report (published in partnership with the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE) charts for the first time the likely impact of both a hard or soft Brexit on UK cities in the decade after new trade arrangements with the EU are put in place—and in both scenarios, the news isn’t good.
The research shows that all British cities are set to see a fall in economic output as a result of leaving the EU, because of the predicted increase in trade costs that both a ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexit will bring. It also reveals that the economic impact will be almost twice as big in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit, which the research predicts will bring an average 2.3% reduction in economic output across all UK cities (compared to a 1.2 per cent decrease if we have a soft Brexit).
Moreover, the report sheds light on the much discussed, but often misunderstood, question of how different parts of the country will be affected by leaving the the EU. Since the referendum last year, it’s become commonplace to suggest that voters in Britain’s so-called ‘left behind’ places—the predominantly pro-Leave areas in the North, Midlands and Wales which drove the vote for Brexit—will bear the brunt of that decision.
“Wealthy cities in the South East are set to be hit hardest”
However, the new research shows that it’s actually mainly wealthy cities in the South East which are set to be hit hardest. That’s because…