In Brief

Leave areas ‘will take biggest hit from Brexit’

Theresa May proposes ‘clean break’ with EU after transition, despite troubling government analysis

The areas of Britain that voted most strongly for Brexit will suffer the biggest economic hit when the UK leaves the EU, secret Brexit impact analysis now released to MPs by the Government has revealed.

Documents prepared by Whitehall and released to MPs after pressure from Labour and pro-EU Tories, suggest North-East England, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland will suffer the greatest hits to economic growth after Brexit.

The North-East, which overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU, would suffer a 16% dip in economic growth in the event of no deal. Even with the Government’s preferred outcome of a free trade deal with the EU, the region would still see an 11% drop in growth.

By comparison, London, which was among the highest Remain areas in the country, would sustain just a 3.5% fall in growth in a no deal scenario.

Elsewhere in the leaked report, which has been published by The Independent, it was revealed the UK retail sector, the country’s biggest private employer, could see its costs rise by 20% after Brexit, while the price of food and drink could rise by 16%.

Labour’s Stephen Doughty took issue with the way the analysis was reaching the public: “It is utterly shameful that people all across this country are having to rely on leaks to find out how much damage a hard, destructive Brexit will do to their local economies and the country as a whole.

“The Government cannot continue to try and hide taxpayer-funded analysis from the public, just because they’re afraid of the political consequences.” 

It has emerge that the Prime Minister has told her Cabinet to expect a clean and “immediate” break from the EU as soon as the transition period ends in 2021.

According to senior British officials, under plans set out by Theresa May yesterday, Britain will diverge from a series of key EU rules and regulations but keep the power to go back in at a later stage.

Speaking to Politico, the official said the three areas where the Government wants to diverge after Brexit are agricultural subsidies, financial services regulation and trade policy.

While the proposal reportedly has support within Cabinet, “it is likely to spark concerns within the Tory ‘soft Brexit’ camp that it could lead to a hard Brexit, and potentially be damaging to the economy”, says The Express.

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