ccording to figures seen by the Yorkshire Post, Leeds stands to lose £6.4bn in the event of a so-called “Hard” exit from the EU, while Sheffield could lose out on up to £2.83bn.
The estimates follow reports that the Treasury has set aside £250m for contingency planning in anticipation of leaving the bloc without a new trade arrangement in place. It also follows renewed suggestions by European leaders that the Brexit process could be halted altogether should the UK change its mind.
The Government is understood to have commissioned more than 50 studies looking at the impact of Britain’s exit from the EU on specific industries.
Earlier this month, the Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed that the Treasury has also been modelling the impact on individual regions of the country.
However, the Department for Exiting the EU recently rejected requests to publish the analysis, arguing that there was a risk of a knock-on effect on national and regional economies . But the Lib Dems have workd with experts at the London School of Economics to produce their own estimates of the effects of a “hard” and “soft” Brexit.
The party claims the cities of London and Birmingham are set to be the worst-hit in the event of a “no deal” exit, with parts of the capital seeing a 9.5 percent drop in output. However, it also suggests that Leeds, which has one of the biggest financial services sectors outside of the South East, could see a drop in output of up to six percent – equivalent to £6.4bn
York, Sheffield, Harrogate and Bradford could also see a decline in economic output of up to 5 percent, according to the research.
Lib Dem leader Vince Cable said the findings highlight “the extent to which Yorkshire would be seriously damaged economically by a no-deal Brexit”.
“The damage to cities such as Leeds will hit the whole of the UK because they are central to Britain’s prosperity,” he said. “The government must guarantee our membership of the single market and customs union... If [they] dispute the figures then I challenge them to publish their own figures, which they so far refuse to do.”
Both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have expressed confidence about a new trade agreement with the EU, but maintain no deal would be better than a bad deal. The Shadow Brexit Minister and Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield yesterday warned this could be “disastrous for the entire country”. “The Government should be honest about what its approach to Brexit would mean for regions across the country,” he said.
“That’s why Labour is calling on them to publish the work they’ve done on the regional impact of Brexit.”
A Dexeu spokesman said: “We are committed to securing a good deal that works for the whole of the UK, through a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement.”