Swindon heads the list of cities in the South West that will face an adverse economic impact from Brexit, according to a new study [pdf]. The Centre for Economic Performance predicts that under either a soft or hard Brexit scenario, cities in the South West will be badly hit when the UK leaves the EU. The study, which looks at the predicted negative impacts of trade barriers associated with Brexit, places Swindon as 4th and Bristol 8th in a list of 62 UK towns and cities. Commenting on the findings, Molly said:
“This new study shows that both a hard and soft form of Brexit will have a devastating impact on the economic performance of our towns and cities across the South West. However, it finds that a hard Brexit scenario – removing us from the single market and customs union – will have the most damaging impact.”
Molly, who is an economist and is campaigning for the UK to remain in the single market and customs union, went on to say:
“By pledging to remove the UK from the single market, both the Tories and Labour reveal their economic incompetence. Neither can make any claim to be the Party of business. The hard Brexit policies of both risk destroying jobs and damaging the economy of towns and cities across the South West.
“My conversations with businesses across the region over the past year have made clear that they are strongly in favour of remaining in the single market. But the customs union is also critical. Manufacturing businesses like Honda, whose main European production centre is in Swindon, are clear that leaving the customs union would necessitate time-consuming checks and paperwork for components to pass across currently open borders*.
“While a hard Brexit is economically illiterate, it makes no political sense either. This is especially true for Labour. A new survey reveals that the Party’s unexpectedly good result in the general election was in no small part due to Remain voters seeing Labour as the best bet to stop a hard Brexit, and only 4% of Labour members believe we should leave the Single Market.”
Molly renewed her challenge to the region’s MPs. She concluded:
“I once again challenge the region’s Conservative and Labour MPs to look at the mounting evidence of the terrible economic impacts of a hard Brexit on the South West economy and urge them to press their leaders to back remaining in the single market and customs union.”
*For a full article by Molly Scott Cato on the impacts of leaving the customs union see here