Government must consider impact of Brexit on the North West

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Government MUST consider impact of Brexit on the North West, and do so NOW, warns Labour MEP

Labour MEP Julie Ward is calling on the UK government to commission and publish economic assessments of how Brexit will impact the North West.

Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West, says:

“The government is taking decisions about Brexit without assessing its impact on the North West. As MEPS elected to represent the North West we are pushing ministers to put consideration of the North West’s people and businesses at the heart of its decisions.

“Following the chaos and confusion of the sectoral impact assessments that weren’t, the Brexit department or, if it is incapable of doing so, the Treasury, must commission analysis on the consequences for each UK region and nation – and publish it. People and businesses throughout the North West have a right to know what government decisions will mean for their jobs, their livelihoods, their futures. It is impossible to make sound personal or business investment plans without this knowledge.

“A recent study revealed areas that voted most strongly to leave – including in the North West – would be the worst hit by a ‘no deal’ Brexit. For example, 16.3% of the GDP of Cumbria is exposed to Brexit; 14.5% of Cheshire: and 11.3% of Greater Manchester.

“UK regions are far more exposed than anywhere else in Europe, with the highest levels of regional GDP exposure to Brexit found in many of Britain’s non-core regions.

“The bottom line is we need to know what will happen to the North West outside the EU. It is now more than one-and-a-half years since the referendum, and ten months since the triggering of Article 50 – the government cannot allow the chaos, uncertainty and confusion around Brexit to continue. People and businesses in every part of our country need to know that the government is making decisions on the future with them in mind.”

In a letter to Brexit secretary David Davis, Labour MEPs write:

“Government ministers are in the process of taking decisions that will have long lasting and far reaching effects for our country – it is only right that those decisions are taken with an awareness of their likely impact.

“As regionally-elected representatives, we believe that it is imperative that an assessment is made of how the different possible paths open to the UK in the upcoming negotiations will affect families, businesses and communities in the British nations and regions - in particular the impact on jobs and the economy.

“Last year an impression was created that sectoral impact assessments of Brexit had been carried out by the Department for Exiting the EU. Based on reports by those who have seen the papers made available to parliament and subsequent clarifications, it would appear that this work has not been undertaken in sufficient detail. It was also recently revealed that the Treasury is refusing to publish documents relating to how a series of possible Brexit outcomes, including no deal, will impact the economy.

“We are therefore writing to you to request that the government produces a thorough impact assessment of the decisions that will need to be taken on Brexit, and crucially that these studies include an assessment of the impacts of Brexit on each nation and region of the UK. After the fiasco of the inadequate sectoral impact assessments, we insist on the need for full and comprehensive regional impact assessments – our constituents need to know the government is considering the impact of Brexit on their local area, and taking this into account in its negotiations.

“If the government is to be confident that it is taking the right decisions in implementing the outcome of the EU referendum, it must have an awareness of the likely impact of those decisions on all the nations and regions of the UK.

“What work has been undertaken across government on the regional economic impact of Brexit? And when will it be published? To date, we are not aware of any work of this nature having been undertaken by your department or the Treasury. If such work has been completed, we would invite you to share this work with the public to assist with the transparency of decision making. If no such work has been undertaken, we would ask you to commission and publish it as a matter of urgency.” 

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