No-deal Brexit 'would be devastating for North West'

The devasting long-term economic impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on the North West has today been laid bare in fresh analysis of government figures by the CBI.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 3:16 pm
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 4:26 pm
The UK has triggered Article 50

The study reveals how the North West could be among the regions most exposed to the economic fallout from leaving the EU without a deal with an estimated annual loss of output worth £20 billion by 2034.

Such a significant shortfall would hit people’s jobs, livelihoods and living standards. This figure is more than double the annual amount of public spending on schools and education in the North West.

Manufacturing activity is particularly important to the North West, and the automotive sector, which employs thousands, is likely to be severely impacted as it is particularly exposed to the risk of higher tariffs and trade costs.

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With 49 per cent of the North West’s goods exports going to the EU, any increased trade friction, added costs or delays would hit the region particularly hard.

One North West employer – an SME chemical manufacturer, said: "We rely heavily on EU suppliers for our raw materials, and EU customers form a large part of our business.

"We have competitors in the EU, and it is critical we can remain competitive on no worse than level terms post-Brexit. If not, we simply play into the hands of our European competitors.

“A ‘no deal’ scenario leaves uncertainties in our ability to trade from the UK competitively. Without frictionless, tariff free trade and a consistent regulatory framework, it is difficult to see what advantages there are to manufacture in the UK."

Damian Waters, Regional Director for CBI North West, said: “CBI members across the region are clear: if the new approach to finding a Brexit deal continues to be a game of who blinks first, the North West economy will pay the price.

“The deadlock will only be broken by a genuine attempt by all MPs to find consensus and compromise, not stick to rusting red lines and political conditions. Like the rest of the UK, the North West is not – and cannot be – ready for no deal.

“The projected impact on our region’s economy would be devastating and while business will do all it can to reduce some of the worst aspects, a no deal scenario is unmanageable.

“The message from the CBI to our politicians is clear – we must see compromise or the whole country faces the unforgivable prospect of a disorderly Brexit which will affect jobs and livelihoods in the North West for decades to come.

"It’s time to put our region’s prosperity before party politics and dogma.”