Media outlets around the world have been documenting Britain’s Brexit ‘bregret’ as economic headwinds hit our shores.
CNBC reports that with evidence mounting of the long-term harm being inflicted on the UK economy by Brexit, the government is coming under pressure to acknowledge the elephant in the room.
The OECD forecast on Tuesday that the UK will suffer a bigger economic contraction than the UK in 2023 among the G-20 (Group of Twenty) leading developed and developing economies.
The 0.2 per cent expansion projected in 2024 is the joint-weakest – alongside Russia.
Trade intensity is also plunging.
Figures show trade as a percentage of GDP has fallen from around 63 per cent in 2019 to around 55 per cent in 2021, while domestic productivity growth is also sluggish.
Both the Bank of England and the OBR estimate that the UK’s potential output has fallen outright since the fourth quarter of 2019, and will endure anemic growth through the next few years.
Reporting on the economic downfall, the New York Times said: “Six and a half years after voting to leave the European Union, three years after the formal departure, two years after signing a post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels and one month after installing its fourth prime minister since the 2016 referendum, Britain is caught in — what else? — another debate over Brexit.
“Brexit may be in the history books, but “Bregret” is back in the air.”
Quoting Sir John Curtis, a polling expert and a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, they note that it will be “very difficult to convince people that a wonderful economic nirvana is coming around the corner because of Brexit.”
With talk of rejoining the single market clearly off the table, Rishi Sunak is now “in a quandary”.
“The most obvious solution is politically unpalatable. His predecessors were able to promote Brexit as a blow for British sovereignty or as a curb against uncontrolled immigration. Now, it is being judged on its economic impact — and being found sorely wanting.”
As Anand Menon, a professor of European politics at Kings College London, concluded: “Brexit wasn’t viewed through the lens of economics,” Professor Menon said. “It was viewed through culture or values. Now everything is economic, and while you can sell Brexit many ways, selling it as a boost to GDP is a stretch.”
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