Financial Times headline: The deafening silence over Brexit’s economic fallout
Subheadline: As economists start to quantify the damage from leaving the EU, a tentative debate has begun over how to soften the blow
Johnson may not want his party “relitigating” Brexit but neither does Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour party, around a third(opens a new window) of whose supporters voted Leave in the 2016 referendum. Nor does Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, would rather talk about something else. Brexit has become the great British taboo.
But as the sixth anniversary of the UK’s vote to leave the EU approaches, economists are starting to quantify the damage caused by the erection of trade barriers with its biggest market, separating the “Brexit effect” from the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. They conclude that the damage is real and it is not over yet.
The UK is lagging behind the rest of the G7 in terms of trade recovery after the pandemic; business investment, seen by Johnson and Sunak as the panacea to a poor growth rate, trails other industrialised countries, in spite of lavish Treasury tax breaks to try to drive it up. Next year, according to the OECD think-tank, the UK will have the lowest growth in the G20, apart from sanctioned Russia.