Why a Brexit impact assessment for the North East is important

Brexit Secretary David Davis has today been accused of a total dereliction of duty and could be in contempt of Parliament after admitting his department does not actually have any Brexit impact papers.

The government had previously said around 58 reports covering all facets of the UK economy had been produced, however Mr Davis revealed today that this was just a “sectoral analysis” of some industries, and doesn’t include any Brexit forecasts that could prepare Britain for different outcomes of its departure from the EU.

Assessing the impact Brexit will have on the North East of England is critical in helping the region prepare for what could be a very unstable economic period in the aftermath.

Labour MEPs for the North East of England, Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen, expressed their shock at the government’s gross incompetence and renewed their call for the UK to retain its membership of the Single Market and Customs Union.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said: “Only a month ago David Davis said these mystery papers were being written in ‘excruciating’ detail, but what turned out to be excruciating was this government’s amateur approach to the most complex process in recent history.

“Around 100,000 jobs in the North East are linked to exports in Europe and more than half of the goods we export from the region go to EU member states. There is an enormous amount at stake, but the government is toying around with the future prosperity of our region.

“Is unemployment in the North East going to rise at unprecedented levels after Brexit? Which sector will be the hardest hit? How will our universities continue to carry out globally acclaimed research? We need all of this information so we can prepare and after 18 months of empty promises the government is still empty-handed.”

Paul Brannen MEP added: “The North East is the poorest English region and independent studies have already shown that we are set to lose out economically in the aftermath of Brexit, to the tune of an estimated £8bn.

“The government had a duty to carry out its own research – aided by the £700m they had already invested in Brexit preparations – but not only have they failed to do so, they have also misled Parliament and the public.

“By insisting that Britain will leave the Single Market and Customs Union in 2019, when nearly 9 out of 10 businesses in the North East want to stay in, Theresa May is blindly leading the country towards a cliff-edge Brexit. The clock is ticking and the government has clearly not done its homework, alas.”

Later edit: Labour MEPs have since written a pressing statement to Brexit Secretary David Davis asking for the long-promised assessment of how leaving the EU will impact each region to be produced immediately. 

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