Reaction as report says 'no deal' Brexit would hit North East hardest in the country

Paul Brannen
Paul Brannen

Political leaders have hit out after claims a 'hard Brexit' could have a devastating effect on the North East economy.

The Government's own forecasts, leaked last month, have now been released to MPs and show the region is set to be hardest hit by leaving the EU.

Tom Brake

Tom Brake

The report says that there is no scenario in which the UK will be better off by leaving, but 'no deal' , which would see the UK revert to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, would have a severe impact on the region.

It says staying in the Single Market would reduce economic growth by three per cent over the next 15 years, a free trade arrangement by 11 per cent and 'no deal' by 16 per cent.

Paul Brannen, Labour MEP for the North East of England, commented: "This is the type of news we always feared Brexit would bring. As the poorest English region, the North East was inevitably going to be more vulnerable to the economic upheaval of leaving the EU.

"To see this figure in black and white, however, is a real shock.

"A 16% reduction in the GDP of the North East translates into thousands of job losses. This is frankly a nightmare scenario for our region and for the government to be aware of this and still be willing to consider a no deal Brexit is absolute madness.

"At the very least the UK needs to stay in the Single Market and the Customs Union."

Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East of England, added: "As disquieting as this may be, it is unfortunately only the beginning of a string of awful news to come out of the leaked impact assessment papers, and the direct result of the Tories being incapable of negotiating a Brexit deal that won’t drain all money and economic prospects out of the North East.

"Our region is not prepared to take this hit, especially in the context of ceasing to be the beneficiary of vital EU funding that has helped North East economy for many years. My constituents did not vote for a future outside of the EU that will see them unbelievably worse off."

Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson, said: "This is a damning outlook for the North East. The Tories are putting everything on the line because they do not care about the lives and livelihoods of the people of the North East.

"The government need to start being clear what they are fighting for. They are still keeping no deal on the table despite how crippling it would be to the regional economy.

"People did not vote to make themselves poorer. They should be allowed a vote on the final deal and a chance to exit from Brexit."