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Brexit buzz (updated): The latest developments as the UK counts down to 29 March 2019

(Editor’s note: Liam Fox infamously said Brexit would be “the easiest negotiation in human history.” Suddenly, 29 March doesn’t mean Brexit. Negotiations and votes could drag on for… well, no one knows. See below for details.)

When the Brexit vote came up on 23 June 2016, we went to bed that night thinking this wasn’t a big deal. Who in their right mind would vote to leave the European Union, the largest, richest and most frictionless single economy in the world?

We awoke to the answer on 24 June 2016: A majority – 51.9 percent – of the voters in the United Kingdom, or more than 17 million people.

In the runup to the election, then-United Kingdom Independent Party leader Nigel Farage (who has a German wife and several French mistresses), Boris Johnson – later (briefly) foreign secretary – and others on the Far Right had convinced the British people the EU was the bête noire, responsible for all the UK’s troubles.

Leaving the EU would mean an extra 350 million pounds each week for the National Health Service; the UK would get a Brexit dividend and would soon be able to cut taxes with the windfall from brilliant new trade treaties around the globe. None of which turned out to be actually true.

What was billed as “the easiest negotiations in human history” has taken almost three years as Prime Minister Theresa May’s government discovered what those Remoaners suspected – divorces are bitter to the end. And basically, Brexit remains at Square One.

So we have a running update of Brexit developments:

• The date 29 March 2019 has lived in infamy for almost three years. Now, it might end up being just another day. On 20 March – with eight days to go – Theresa May bullied, wheedled and cajoled EU officials into a Brexit extension. Maybe. Tusk & Co. agreed to making 22 May the new date. IF May can persuade Parliament to accept her plan. Which, by the way, they rejected twice in votes that weren’t even close.

If not 22 May the Brexit consolation prize is leaving 12 April unless EU officials are convinced there’s sufficient momentum to start the whole painful process over again or to withdraw Article 50. Oh, and the UK would have to field candidates for EU elections, which May already termed “absurd.”

Our prediction? With so many qualifiers on each side, our Magic 8 Ball reads “No-deal Brexit.”

• If you’re a Remainer, a big event is coming up. The People’s Vote March through London is scheduled for noon Saturday, 23 March, from Park Lane to Parliament Square. The goal is to attract crowds too large to ignore in the quest for a second public Brexit referendum. All the details are on the website. There will also be marches in Madrid and other cities with large British expat populations. You can see more here on the Bremain in Spain website.

• We’ve all used that tried-and-true “It’s not you, it’s me” line to slip out of relationships gone wrong. Not Theresa May. Eight days from the theoretical Brexit, May went full “It’s you, not me!” as she lambasted members of Parliament for failing to support her Brexit deal(s) with the EU. Pretty much assuring she’ll get little or no support from either side of the aisle for whatever agreement she brings back from Brussels.

• Okay, there’s something like a plan coming out of No. 10. PM May will send a letter to EU officials Wednesday – nine days out from Brexit, and the day before they gather for a summit in Brussels. That letter will request an Article 50 extension. Will she get it? “We need something new, because if it is an extension to remain in the same deadlock that we are – how do we get out of this deadlock? This is a question for the British authorities,” CNBC quotes Nathalie Loiseau, minister for European Affairs of France, as saying.

Not. Looking. Good.

• The voluble speaker of the House of Commons has thrown a huge monkey wrench into the creaky Brexit machinery, which – let’s face it – was on the verge of breaking down anyway. John Berkow says there will be no third vote on Theresa May’s deal until she makes some meaningful changes. Which at 11 days out is nigh on impossible. Throwing the UK into a constitutional crisis. Or deeper into a constitutional crisis … whatever.

• Ah, remember the Good Old Days where Prime Minister Theresa May was hunched over her desk at No. 10 Downing, writing on her official stationery with her Conway Stewart Westminster Teal pen?

Dear Messieurs Barnier and Tusk

Remember when we said we’d be out of the EU by 29 March? Well, there’s been a spot of bother. So we’re thinking perhaps we could have a bit more time. Cheers, Theresa.

Was it only just last Thursday the House of Commons voted to ask the EU to delay Article 50? Back in those halcyon days, France and Germany stated they want to know exactly what tangible measures the Brits can take toward a new plan that will a). get through Parliament and b.) satisfy EU negotiators. Who have said (over and over) that the UK already has the best deal it’s ever going to get.

Now, who knows what’s going to happen.

Best line after Wednesday night’s vote:  A senior EU negotiator describe the vote to reject a no-deal Brexit as “the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the way.”

• Okay, the Parliament doesn’t want May’s deal. They also voted to reject a no-deal Brexit – May’s final bargaining chip to get her deal approved – under any circumstances. But to a large extent, the UK isn’t the master of its own destiny because there’s still no deal to leave. Like at all. The EU still has to approve any new Brexit tactics including a request to extend Article 50.  Meanwhile, hardline Brexiteers including Nigel Farage are lobbying nationalists in Italy and Poland to vote against an extension to ensure a no-deal Brexit. It would only take one EU country to vote against to essentially guarantee a no-deal Brexit.

BUT, one of the options being talked about is bringing back Theresa May’s agreement for a third vote. No, really.

• With the defeat of Plan B. Tuesday night, Scottish officials are once again talking about walking. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the thunderous defeat of May’s “pandering to Brexit extremist” leaves the UK with a “Government that has effectively ceased to function and a country that remains poised on a cliff edge,” according to the Scotsman.

Sturgeon advocates a second referendum, and added that the case for Scottish independence “has never been stronger.” Scots voted heavily – in some districts 70-plus percent – to remain.

Plan B is dead, shot down by another huge margin, 391 to 242. Which leaves two default Brexit votes to go this week … one vote on a no-deal Brexit and one on extending Article 50. But already, Scottish MPs are talking about another referendum.

• Monday’s last-minute negotiations with the EU have yielded a mind-bendingly complex and notional agreement on the Irish border, though it was all in vain. The Irish Backstop – a continuation of the current EU open-border policy until new agreements are complete – was a gambit by EU officials to keep open the border between Nothern Ireland, part of the UK, and the independent Republic of Ireland, an EU member.

That’s sacrilege to hardcore Brexiteer who say a Backdrop would be a violation of British sovereignty. Only trouble is, closing the border would be a violation of the Good Friday Agreement, which bought peace to Nothern Ireland. So, the Backstop is a  political hand grenade thrown into the middle of the negotiations … it was just a matter of time before it went off.

• At 17 days and change, the Guardian is reporting Prime Minister Theresa May herself may be a victim of Brexit. She’s 0 for 2 in votes so far, with Brexit even more of a cock-up.

What does that mean if May is forced out before 29 March? Just what we need … more unknown unknowns.

• Businesses – especially multinationals – have as sector never supported Brexit, not just because of the potential trade barriers to the EU, but simply because of the uncertainty it’s injected into UK’s business environment. The Washington Post has a detailed and well-written post documenting the havoc even possibility of a no-transition Brexit has caused.

Companies have been forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contingency planning or put off expansions, the post notes. And the biggest just left.

From the post:

“Dublin is our headquarters for our European bank now — full stop,” Anne M. Finucane, Bank of America’s vice chairman, told the Financial Times’s European Financial Forum last month. “There isn’t a return. That bridge has been pulled up. . . . From a trading perspective, likewise, Paris would be the European trading arm.”

By the way, chalk up another big win for Amsterdam as Japanese pharma company Shionogi just announced it would leave London and make the Dutch business center its new Europe HQ. At least 275 companies representing about 1 trillion pounds of capital and 5,000 executive positions are leaving the UK including companies such as Dyson, controlled by Brexit supporter Sir James Dyson.

The question is, are Brits tired of all the winning, yet?

• At the beginning of March, (which seems like a lifetime ago) it appeared an Article 50 extension was the only way out of a no-deal Brexit. But French President Emmanuel Macron is warning that any extension to the departure date depends on May’s government making clear proposals for how additional time would be used. And the issue of the Irish backstop appears to be even more contentious as the Conservatives’ Northern Ireland allies the Democratic Unionists Party demand a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

• We knew the Brexit Blues would infect people across Europe. But now, Brexit is even screwing up space. 

The BBC has a post about British space entrepreneur Will Marshall, founder of Planet, the world’s largest satellite imaging network with 150 satellites. Marshall warns EU withdrawal will leave the UK “lost in space.” We saw that one coming …..

• What? Donald Trump has turned on another ally? Nooooo way!

This time it’s the UK. The American president and acolytes such as Steve Bannon encouraged Brexiteers to flee horrible EU tyranny, promising “a very, very big deal, very very quickly” if they leave. Turns out that as we move to only three weeks till Brexit, the America First mentality has superseded outreach to May & Co. Instead of a fast, sweet deal, Trump is offering “a preview of what it can expect from take-no-prisoners trade negotiations after Brexit,” states a CNN post. The US is demanding major trade concessions and not offering much in return.

Ending EU rules could open the UK to American agricultural products including genetically modified crops, animal feed with antibiotics and chlorine-washed chicken, all currently banned in the European Union.

• We love cosmic irony as much as the next person, but this rich.

The Daily Mail, the reliably and historically far-right newspaper that supports Brexit, has a post revealing “a leaked document.” That leak shows government officials are putting together a “hardship fund” to hand out cash to workers who lose their jobs to a no-deal Brexit. The Daily Mail post is curiously similar to a post on the Times website, which amazingly has the same leaked document!

What a coincidence.

We’re still waiting for the Times, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Daily Express and other “conservative” outlets that spent decades whipping up the anti-EU sentiment run a good-news story about how swimmingly Brexit is going.

• So a small island nation votes to leave a trade association … how hard could that be, right? Well, apparently gut-wrenching enough that Brexit has torn apart both of the UK’s main political parties and is in the process of totally reshaping British politics.

So far, 11 MPs have left Labour, ostensibly over party leader Jeremy Thorp’s anti-semitism. Then, three moderate MPs from the Conservatives – frustrated by hardline Brexiteers in their own party – joined them to form the informal “Independent Group.” The Atlantic has a deep dive into the fact that Labour and the Tories have lost a significant number of members in aggregate “at a time when—with Brexit only weeks away—they arguably need them the most.” Interestingly, the Independent Group – whose member support a second Brexit referendum – now makes up the fourth-largest group in the British Parliament … larger than the DUP, the far-right Unionist party representing Northern Ireland in May’s government.

• Nooooo! Not Formula One.

What were we thinking; Of course this most international of auto racing franchises will be thrown in to neutral in the event of no-deal Brexit. All the drivers are European or Britsh, most of the teams are based in England and the races span the globe from Dubai to Shanghai. So will the engines go silent on 29 March? Mercedes team manager Toto Wolff, who is Austrian, thinks so, calling it the “mother of all messes.”

• Do does Brexit connect back to Trump and Putin? That’s the question hanging in the air as the Guardian and other British media outlets are reporting Robert Mueller has subpoenaed a former top executive at defunct Cambridge Analytica.  Brittany Kaiser, who appeared with Arron Banks at the launch of the Leave.EU campaign, confirmed the subpoena. The Leave campaign used Cambridge Analytica to scrape Facebook data, targeting voters most receptive to the anti-EU message.

Does special investigator Mueller, who’s investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, want to know if Kaiser has direct links to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort? Manafort is suspected of sharing information with Konstantin Kilimnik, who allegedly connects to Russian intelligence. Complicated, we know. But a piece in the puzzle of Putin’s laser focus on destabilizing liberal Western democracies.

• Now it’s Tory v. Tory as the infighting over a no-deal Brexit intensifies and political stances harden. A hard-right faction of May’s own party, the European Research Group, refused to support May as they pursue a hard Brexit. Tory grassroots membership, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, believes a hard Brexit is the only way for the UK to escape the clutches of the tyrannical EU. The problem seems to be that within the Conservative Party, there are numerous factions ranging from Remainers to Hard Exit supports, and only a shrinking minority support May.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte helpfully pointed out how the whole May strategy is flawed because the EU simply is never going to yield to Brexiteers’ demands of the UK having the same trade-and-travel privileges as EU member nations without any of the economic and regulatory integration … and that Britain has less and less leverage as it becomes a “middling economy.”

• Tic-tock, tick-tock.

At the 44-day mark, Ford officials followed Honda and Nissan execs out the door, announcing plans to move production out of post-Brexit UK. The Times of London is reporting that during a call with business leaders, British-based executives with the Detroit automaker told Theresa May they were “preparing alternative sites abroad.” Ford of Britain has 13,000 employees at multiple facilities including three factories – Bridgend, Dagenham and Halewood. But the big hit for the UK would be losing Ford’s R&D center in Dunton, Essex, which employs more than highly paid 3,000 engineers.

• The New York Times has a data-driven post, “Where Europe Would Be Hurt by Brexit,” on the potential trans-European fallout from a no-deal Brexit. The Republic of Ireland will be hardest hit. But the Netherlands and Germany will also feel the pain since they derive a significant portion of their GDPs from selling goods to the UK. Other countries such as Poland could be affected if Brexit cuts off remittances from Polish workers to families at home. There’s a lot more insightful info … serious and objective reporting on the most serious story of the 21st Century so far.

• Dang, what do you really think, Donald Tusk? EU President Tusk got something off his chest at a presser Wednesday with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. He looks right at the camera and says, “By the way, I’ve been wondering what that special place in Hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of plan how to carry it out safely.” And you think he “misspoke,” he immediately tweeted the same thing.

Can you say, “Righteous indignation?” And this does NOT bode well for Mrs. May when she arrives in Brussels tomorrow to start negotiating/renegotiating Brexit with 50 days left to go.

• It increasingly appears the possibility of returning to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland might be the unsolvable issue that guarantees a no-deal Brexit. Theresa May seems to be trying to have it both ways, assuring the Irish there won’t be a customs-and-passport check while assuring her hardline Brexiteers there will be.

A hard border would essentially abrogate the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement signed in 1998, a peace agreement that opened the border and ended “The Troubles,” decades of sectarian tension between pro-independence Roman Catholics and pro-Union Protestants. But Brexiteers see an open border as an affront to its sovereignty and one more way Britain will still be tied to the EU post-Brexit.

• The Republic of Ireland is expecting to take a major hit to its exports in the event of a no-deal Brexit. So Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is asking the EU for a fund to cover an expected 1.7 billion euro drop in the value of exports to the UK due to tariffs that would kick in if the UK reverts back to WTO rules. Ireland currently exports 4.5 billion euros worth of food and drink annually to the UK … and we thought the figure just for the value of Scotch single malts would come to more than that.

There is a precedent … after sanctions were imposed on Russia, Russia retaliated by banning exports from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. That put a 5.8 billion euros hole in their economies, so the EU is still making up the difference.

Brexit represents something of a no-win for Irelands. The Guardian points out that if the UK drops all tariffs and EU food regulations, the UK would be flooded with cheaper meats from the U.S. and South America, cutting out the more expensive beef and lamb from Ireland.

• The Sex Pistols released “Anarchy in the UK” way back in 1976. Little did we all know how prescient they were. The biggest news lately was whether Queen Elizabeth II will be whisked away from London should the UK actually collapse into anarchy. The question of course is, will the queen be flown somewhere safe … like the EU?

• Japanese auto giant Nissan announced in February it will not be building its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland, but will move production to Japan. Which – if this wasn’t part of the larger Brexit story – would be a stand-alone fiasco all its own.

Why? Because until the announcement, the fact that the May Government was giving Nissan substantial incentives to build the vehicle in England post-Brexit a been a state secret (no, really). Business Secretary Greg Clark revealed on Monday that Nissan was awarded 61 million pounds ($80 million) in grants, contingent on building the X-Trail and another SUV in Sunderland. That money is at risk if it reneges on the deal, he said. The only problem was, the May government had assured voters there were no incentives. Despite having the majority of its job at a huge auto plant owned by a foreign multinational, 61-percent of people in Sunderland voted Leave.

Bloomberg has the best coverage.

• Earlier in January it was Dyson. Then Airbus. CEO Tom Enders released a video saying in the bluntest possible language – pointed language you rarely hear from top executives of multinationals – that no companies should have to deal with this much uncertainty 65 days out from Brexit. This could be the most sobering moment yet is this wildly chaotic process as the normally diplomatic German went right to the point: “We can’t move our operations and workforce overnight, but move them we will in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

“Please don’t listen to the Brexiteer’s madness which asserts that because we have huge plants here, we will not move and we will always be here,” he says in the video above. “They are wrong.”

The departure of Airbus operations from the UK would be the biggest potential financial blow yet. The aviation industry giant has 14,000 employees in Britain and supports another 110,000 jobs through its supply chain, according to CNN.

Using a median wage of 50,000 pounds in a back-of-the-envelope calculation, that would be a potential 7.25 billion pound loss just in pure wages. Which seems to us to be a high price for making the UK great again

More companies announced they were leaving the UK for new headquarters cities including Brexit supporter Sir James Dyson, who’s moving his vacuum cleaner/clever device company to Singapore. Dyson, Britain’s 12th richest person, assures everyone his decision at 66 days out has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.

Brexiteers defended him by explaining Dyson is a global brand. Which is kind of the point … companies are leaving the UK to ensure they still have access to global markets. Also on the list of companies bidding London adieu are P&O, the ferry company, which is relocating to Cyrpus. See the full story here at The Guardian.

To top off the news, Bentley’s new CEO told Reuters that Brexit will put a huge dent in the financials of the definitive British luxury carmaker just as it’s starting to turn a profit under Volkswagen.

Sony had already announced it’s moving its European headquarters from London to Amsterdam.

Most of the largest financial institutions have begun Brexit exits to Germany. Among banks that announced plans to relocate some of their EU operations to Frankfurt are Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo announced it was shifting its European operations to mainland Europe from London late last year. Wells Fargo announced 15 October that it will open a subsidiary in Paris post-Brexit, according to The Financial Times.

Wells Fargo was followed by Warren, N.J.-based insurance giant Chubb Group, which is relocating operations to Paris.

Will the last company to leave please turn out the lights ….

• So, May presented Plan B last month. You know things didn’t go well when Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, asks about the plan to call out 3,500 troops, then put them on standby in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit. Cable asked specifically what the “rules of engagement” would be in the event armed British soldiers face angry and violent demonstrators.

May replied that everything is under control. (We’re not making this up. Here’s the link to the exchange as reported by Sky News.)

• With less than three months before Brexit, everyone including Brexiteer Michael Gove warned it’s not going to be pretty. Gove warned that Brexit will leave the UK’s farmers in a pickle, so to speak. “No-one can be blithe or blasé about the real impact on food producers in this country of leaving without a deal,” Gove told the BBC.

The Republic of Ireland, which of course remains in the EU, is ramping up efforts to make sure Brexit doesn’t cut off the supply of medicines. And the DUP, a right-wing party in Northern Ireland aligned with May’s Tories, voted against her deal as expected.

• At the 100-day mark, the EU finally blinked … kind of. EU officials revealed their no-deal Brit contingency plan. The 14-point barebones plan will make sure flights between the UK and the EU just don’t stop dead, and EU officials have agreed to honor for a brief time some UK financial regs, according to the BBC.  The post quotes EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis as saying the measures “an exercise in damage limitation.”

• At the close of 2018, the British government called out the troops. 10 Downing Street told CNN on 18 December that 3,500 troops will be on standby in case the wheels fall off on 29 March 2019. The May government is sending out advice to households during the next few weeks, and businesses will have access to a 100-plus page document online to help them prepare. The government will send emails to more than 80,000 businesses most likely to be affected, CNN reported.

• On the day May presented the draft agreement to parliament, the guy who oversaw Brexit quit. Brexit Minister Dominic Rennie Raab – the son of a Czech-born Jewish refugee who escaped the Nazis, and who is married to a Brazilian Google executive – said he could no longer support the deal, which Raab said has “two fatal flaws.” Which he negotiated. Monty Python couldn’t have written a more absurd script.

• On 31 October – Halloween, appropriately – the Guardian reported that Manhattan-based rating agency Standard & Poor’s warns that a no-deal Brexit would plunge the U.K. into recession, send unemployment skyrocketing, home prices lower and office leasing rates off the cliff. Oh, and for good measure, Britain’s credit rating would be downgraded.

The New York Times has a post about a new phenomenon – Brexit Preppers. They’re the Brits who are hoarding food, medicine, toilet paper and other supplies, preparing for the disruption of supplies likely after a no-deal Brexit.

From the post:

“People are talking about World War II and rationing,” said Ms. Mann, a former midwife. “People have also been talking about the blackouts in the 1970s, and how power was rationed. This has the potential of being a combination of the two,” she said.

• Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a 15 October speech at the Royal Society of Arts in London that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. In the event of what she calls “a blindfold Brexit,” “Scotland must have the option to choose a different course, as an independent member of the EU.” Make of that what you will.

You can see her full speech here. It’s worth a close read as it might be a harbinger of things to come in the UK as Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to stay, while Wales voted to leave.

• On 20 September, European Union leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron told Prime Minister Theresa May her Chequers Plan is unworkable, increasing dramatically the chances of a no-deal Brexit. Or as CNN phrased it in their headline, “Brexit was sold by ‘liars’ and Britain’s exit plan is unworkable, UK told.” The remarks came during a Brexit Summit in Salzburg, Austria.

• Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney stated a no-deal Brexit could lead to a housing crash in Britain and other financial issues comparable to that of the 2008 financial collapse.  The BOE carries out “stress tests” to check whether the banking system can withstand extreme financial shocks.

The most recent from November 2017 predicted a 33-percent fall in house prices could occur in a worst-case scenario, according to the BBC. Carney’s worst-case scenario was that house prices could fall as much as 35 percent over three years, a source told the BBC.

•  On Sunday, 9 September, The Times of London published details of a leaked report from the  National Police Co-ordination Centre. The report warns that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the military might have to be deployed to back up police to quell civil unrest after food and other necessities start disappearing from British shelves. The NPCC report warns that traffic jams at ports could lead to “unprecedented and overwhelming” disruption to the road network.

• Speaking of goods disappearing, the Financial Times is reported Sunday that British businesses would have to stock 40 billion pounds worth of imports to preserve inventories in case of a no-deal Brexit. That increase in business would lead to a spike in the economy, followed by an equal and opposite reaction – a dip as business activity post-Brexit decreased, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research.

The FT quoted Douglas McWilliams, CEBR founder, as saying, “This makes a post-Brexit mini-recession almost inevitable.”

• You knew this was coming … a warning Brexit would deny Ed Sheeran’s global fan base access to his new music. Wait, this is serious. The New Music Express, or NME as it’s now called, reports the British Phonographic Industry trade group is warning a no-deal Brexit could be catastrophic for Britain’s music industry, which is huge.

Who knew that UK-based artists account for one out of eight albums sold globally in 2017!

• On 6 September, several British media outlets including Sky News revealed the existence of Operation Yellowhammer, the May government’s planning for a worst-case, no-deal Brexit scenario. That plan includes messaging to reassure financial markets to keep them from collapsing.

The plan also calls for instituting budget austerity, with taxpayers funding emergency measures such as stockpiling pharmaceuticals and other essentials.

Operation Yellowhammer is the work of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat,  designed to plan for emergencies and disasters.

• On 23 August, then-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab sent out 24 technical notes he called “practical and proportionate advice” in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Raab’s release of the documents was meant to demonstrate to the British public that adults are in charge, with plans to ameliorate the worst effects of a no-deal Brexit.

Why, “the vast majority” of consumers won’t even notice any impact, Raab said, apparently referring to Brits who don’t fly, eat food, work for a living or make credit card purchases.

“People and businesses should not be alarmed by no-deal planning and preparation, nor read into it any pessimism. Instead, they should be reassured that we are taking a responsible approach, ensuring the UK’s exit can be as smooth as possible in all scenarios.”

• Unfortunately for Raab, the very same day, May’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond stated in a letter to Tory MP Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Common’s Treasury Committee, that a no-deal Brexit will mean a 7.7 percent decrease in the UK’s GDP over the next 15 years.

To put that in perspective, the real GDP contracted by 4.2 percent between late 2007 and mid-2009 during the U.S.’s worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

From Hammond’s letter:

Under a no deal/WTO scenario chemicals, food and drink, clothing, manufacturing, cars, and retail were estimated to be the sectors most affected negatively in the long-run, with the largest negative impacts felt in the North East and Northern Ireland.

Bottom line: Government borrowing is projected to increase by 80 billion pounds per year by 2033 to cover the budget shortfall in order to simply maintain the status quo.

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