Brexit: a year later, the slow crumbling of the British economy

For Renée Watson and her small business The Curiosity Box, Brexit was not a disaster, but the origin of a thousand small difficulties: administrative red tape and increased costs for exporting to the European Union (EU) … “Finally, we decided to stop selling in the European Union. It was too complicated when we only made 10% of our turnover there. “ This SME of fourteen employees located near Oxford, which sells boxes of small chemists to schoolchildren, has not had to make any layoffs and will not collapse because of leaving the EU. “But it makes me sad to see all these difficulties and these inefficiencies that we have imposed on ourselves. “

For David Page, chairman of The Fulham Shore, which owns 75 restaurants, Brexit hasn’t been a disaster either. “But we are now in a permanent battle to find employees”, testifies the entrepreneur. Like everywhere else, the pandemic has caused a labor shortage in the restaurant industry. “But it is worsened by Brexit, thousands of Europeans having returned to their homes, to France, Spain or Greece …”, he explains.

” As expected “

One year after the effective entry into force of Brexit – the UK exited the Single Market on 1is January 2021 – The UK economy is slowly falling apart. With the pandemic, which has disrupted world trade, it is difficult to measure its impact precisely. To get around the difficulty, John Springford of the Center for European Reform think tank compared the trade trends of a group of 22 countries with that of the UK. Until the end of 2020, they were correlated. But since the 1is January 2021, the gap widens: British trade has lost between 11% and 16% compared to the comparative sample.

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“For the most part, it is going as expected by economists: it has become a little more difficult for the UK to trade with the EU”says Sam Lowe, a business expert at Flint, a consultancy group. “15% less trade, it will gradually be felt in the growth figures, says Douglas McWilliams, who heads the Center for Business and Economics Research, an economic studies firm. That roughly corresponds to the long-term loss of 3% or 4% of GDP that had been anticipated. “

The economist, who voted for Brexit in 2016 but has always believed that “That would have a cost” emphasizes, however, that all this is hardly visible: “3% to 4% of GDP lost over ten years, no one will really notice it on a daily basis. “

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Brexit: a year later, the slow crumbling of the British economy