Jacob Rees-Mogg gives update on Brexit to the Commons
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The pro-EU organisation made the claim in response to polls showing more Britons say the UK was wrong to leave the European Union. An analysis of 200 polls carried out by the Evening Standard newspaper revealed 49 percent of adults believe it was a mistake compared to 38 percent who say it was the right decision.
European Movement UK’s Twitter account shared the story on the platform and remarked: “So, we actually don’t really want Brexit. Fine by us.”
The analysis also shows the average annual gap between those who believe it was wrong to vote Leave compared to right has rose to double figures for the first time in 2022, at 10.6 percentage points.
This is almost double the 5.5 percentage point gap of last year, and is higher than 6.4 percentage points in 2020, according to the analysis of 211 polls which asked whether on reflection people thought the UK was right or wrong to vote for Brexit.
Patrick English, Associate Director of Political and Social Research at YouGov, told the publication there had not been any dramatic shift in the country’s view on Brexit over the years.
He said: “Between YouGov’s first polling on this issue and the figures today, there has been only around a 6-point increase in the percentage of people who think Brexit was the ‘wrong’ decision, and a slightly larger, but still small, decrease in the percentage of people who think it was ‘right’.
“A large proportion of the widening in the wrong versus right gap can be attributed to generational replacement alone, with Brexit supporters far likely to be older and those who supported Remain much younger.
“The relative stability of attitudes reflects how deep the Brexit divide entrenched itself within British politics and public opinion, evolving to become much more of a political identity than a policy preference.”
Government ministers have argued Brexit Britain has seen “huge” benefits when it comes to international trade deals.
Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State for Trade Policy, said the Government was deepening trade ties around the world and free trade agreements were being exploited.
Writing in the Telegraph, she said: “Since Brexit, UK businesses have once again adapted to new systems and ambitions.
“The Government is deepening trade ties around the world, but it is business that will capitalise on that.”
However, the Resolution Foundation think tank said this month that the UK’s lacklustre economic performance reflects a more closed economy since Brexit.
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It also represents a missed opportunity for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s levelling-up agenda, which aims to reduce regional inequalities.
If British goods exports had grown in line with the average among the other six G7 countries, they would have been worth around £38 billion ($47 billion) more during the year to April 2022.
This represents several billions of pounds of lost revenue for British factories and by extension the regions outside London, since around 95 percent of manufacturing output is based outside the capital, according to 2017 official data.
Manufacturing comprises only about 10 percent of Britain’s overall economic output but it is a key driver of growth and investment in many of the parts of England and Wales that voted heavily to leave the EU in 2016, such as the East Midlands and North East regions.
Unless Britain can meaningfully improve its trade performance, it could mean more missed opportunities to level up.
Flaheen Khan, senior economist from the Make UK manufacturing trade group, said: “The regions that probably asked for Brexit are the most likely to have seen the biggest impact negative impact from trade.”
The Resolution Foundation said Brexit was unlikely to result in a major restructuring of the main sectors of Britain’s economy, but it would have consequences for levelling-up.
It said: “Our assessment finds that the North East, one of the poorest regions in the UK, will be one of the hardest hit, and that Brexit will increase its existing – and large – productivity and income gaps.”
Brexit supporters have said it is a long-term project which cannot be judged in the space of a few years, before the benefits of an independent trade and regulatory policy become fully apparent.
Minister for Brexit Opportunities, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said of the report: “Regurgitations of Project Fear don’t seem to get anyone anywhere.”
The Government wants to boost exports of goods and services to reach £1 trillion per year in current prices by the end of the decade, up from their pre-pandemic level of £700 billion.
The highest rate of inflation in the G7 is likely to be a big driver behind meeting that goal but an improved underlying trade performance would go a long way to boosting economic activity across the UK.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said businesses need more help to get there.
It pointed to five practical measures which would boost trade with the EU.
The bloc accounts for more than 40 percent of British exports.
The measures range from less red tape for food exports and a sales tax deal for small businesses trading digitally with the EU to arrangements for markings and testing of industrial goods.
William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said: “Businesses in the UK and EU still have good relationships and trust each other.
“We need decision-makers to follow our lead and negotiate practical improvements to the Brexit trade deal.”
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