Thinktank research shows that areas with large numbers of ‘Leave’ voters could be vulnerable after leaving EU
Several parts of the UK which voted to leave the European Union during last year’s membership referendum could be among the hardest hit by economic changes after Brexit, according to new findings. As the Government triggers Article 50, research at the thinktank Demos shows that areas with large numbers of ‘Leave’ voters – including Wales, the North East and the East Midlands – could be vulnerable.
Loss of exports
These places would suffer from the removal of EU support grants, a loss of exports on goods to the Union and a reduction in number of EU workers. And according to the research, they are among the most dependent on these factors, with Wales in particular considered to be highly vulnerable to the losses.
“Despite overwhelmingly voting in favour of leaving the European Union, Wales stands to be the region worst hit by the UK’s departure from the EU,” the report said. “Wales is also one of the UK’s two leading exporters to the European Union, with over 60 per cent of its exports going to the EU, and so would be most affected by potential tariffs.”
These tariffs would be implemented by World Trade Organisation (WTO) on several manufactured goods and agricultural products should the Government fail to secure a new free trade agreement upon leaving the single market. Researchers admitted that, due to the complicated nature of the negotiations, it would be difficult to paint a completely clear picture of what will happen.
However, the impact of WTO tariffs on various sectors was examined in a separate exercise, with damaging results for many. Imposed tariffs “With tariffs imposed on British goods at the levels currently faced by non-EU states, industries at risk of being hit by the highest duties will be agriculture, forestries and fishing; mining and quarrying; and manufacturing,” it said. “As a result of tariff changes, UK producers of dairy products, confectionery, alcohol and tobacco will be hit with the costliest duties, with the highest tariffs of exports into the EU at 33.5% for dairy produce.”
While some areas containing large proportions of ‘Leave’ voters could be hit hard, others are considered to be relatively secure. Places in the West Midlands, the North West and the South West would be less affected, for example. At the same time, areas which backed ‘Remain’ could also be at risk. London and Northern Ireland will be affected by the changes, with the capital set to suffer greatly from a loss of EU workers.
While all of the 12 regions had at least one ‘medium risk’ following Brexit, Wales was considered to be in the most danger while Scotland the least likely to be affected.