No deal Brexit "could cost North-West economy £20bn a year"

Date published: 22 January 2019

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) - which represents approximately 190,000 businesses across the UK - claims leaving the EU without a deal could have "devastating long-term impact" on the north west economy.

It follows analysis of government figures released last year which looked at the long-term effects of an EU exit.

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.

With 49% of the area's exports going to the EU, the business body claims any increased trade friction, added costs or delays would hit the northwest particularly hard. The CBI also said that their analysis showed that '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'.

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.”

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