IT was a central argument of the successful referendum campaign to leave the EU that Brexit would not make the people of Britain worse off. Two years on, credible doubts are being voiced that leaving without a deal risks doing exactly that.
The concerns expressed by Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, that the North will suffer if Britain cannot reach a deal with the EU, deserve to be heeded by the Government, coming as they do on the same day that two other organisations warn of the possible consequences of a so-called hard Brexit.
The ResPublica think-tank’s warning of a two-tier food system that leaves the less well-off forced to accept lower standards, and the Country Land and Business Association’s assertion that agriculture will suffer, both highlight potentially serious problems ahead.
Neither of these organisations, nor Mr Burnham, are in the business of scaremongering. Their warnings come in the context of similar concerns expressed by reputable and authoritative business organisations.
Economic difficulties as a result of Brexit must be avoided. The Government, mired as it is in factional infighting, is in serious difficulties over the eventual manner of Britain leaving the EU. The Prime Minister’s preferred option is struggling to command support within her own Cabinet, let alone the Parliamentary Conservative Party.
Yet a solution must be found, and a sensible, workable deal forged with the EU. Crashing out of Europe without such a deal will not benefit the economy, and is not in the interests of Britain’s people.
It is not acceptable that the less well-off in this region should be left struggling to meet food bills, or that farmers face threats to their industry. The deadline for Brexit looms ever closer, and political bluster must be put aside in favour of finding a deal that is best for Britain.