MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 28th 2023 - 10:13 UTC



UK economy, Brexit and the productivity slowdown controversy

Tuesday, February 14th 2023 - 10:16 UTC
Full article
Bank of England. Photo: HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS Bank of England. Photo: HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS

Jonathan Haskel, an external member of the Bank of England monetary policy committee, said a wave of investment “stopped in its tracks” in 2016 following the Brexit vote.

He said the UK had “suffered much more” of a productivity slowdown than other large economies because of Brexit. However the Treasury said it did not recognize Mr Haskel's figures.

Mr Haskel, was interviewed by website newsletter The Overshoot and asked why he thought the UK was an “extreme outlier” when it came to facing a slowdown in productivity.

He said: “Yes, we suffered much more. A bit of that is that we have this larger financial sector. But I think it really goes back to Brexit.

”If you look in the period up to 2016, it's true that we had a bigger slowdown in productivity up to 2016, but we had a lot of investment. We had a big boom between 2012-ish to 2016.

“But then investment just plateaued from 2016, and we dropped to the bottom of G7 countries.”

Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, there has been a global pandemic, swiftly followed by an energy crisis, which has made estimating any financial impact directly related to Brexit difficult.

Some economists, including the International Monetary Fund, have suggested that uncertainty surrounding Brexit, including the unsettled issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, has deterred at least some spending.

Mr Haskel said that the Brexit referendum had an impact on economic growth as a result of the reduction in trade, with the UK opting to leave the EU and its single market and secure trade deals elsewhere.

He referred to a calculation to show what the UK economy could have looked like if investment had carried on growing at the rate it had been before the referendum, compared to what it is currently growing at.

Mr Haskel described the hit to the economy as the “productivity penalty”, which amounted to about 1.3% of gross domestic product (GDP+

“That 1.3% of GDP is about £29bn, or roughly £1,000 per household,” he added.

Sir Richard Branson is among the business bosses who have suggested the cost of Brexit red tape would put them off investing in the UK.

But the pro-Brexit group Briefings for Business claims there is no evidence of a Brexit-related hit to investment.

A Treasury spokeswoman added that since leaving the EU single market, the UK had grown faster than France and Germany.

“The government is making the most of our Brexit freedoms to grow the economy, including ambitious financial services sector reforms which will unlock over £100bn of investment, and we are reviewing EU-derived rules in other critical growth sectors this year,” she said.

Categories: Economy, International.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!