Brexit will hit Aberdeen harder than any other city in UK, report says

Economic decline is expected in all parts of the UK, regardless of hard or soft Brexit

ABERDEEN will be the most affected city in the UK by Brexit, with Edinburgh also in the top 10, a new report shows.

Research done by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics and the Centre for Cities predicted an economic downturn of 3.7 per cent for Aberdeen and 2.7 per cent in Edinburgh in the event of a hard Brexit.

For a soft Brexit, the report expects the drop off to be 2.1 per cent for Aberdeen and 1.4 per cent in Edinburgh.

“This report further confirms the damage which taking us out of the EU is likely to do to our economy” Scottish Government spokesperson

The report found that all UK local authorities will experience some sort of economic drop, ranging from the level of Aberdeen’s downturn to a smaller 0.5 per cent in Hounslow, in the event of a hard Brexit.

Glasgow and Dundee also find themselves in the top 50, regardless of the type of Brexit that is undertaken by the UK Government.

Glasgow’s economy is expected to drop by 2.4 per cent in the event for a hard, and 1.3 per cent in a soft Brexit, whereas Dundee could see either 2.1 per cent or 1.2 per cent.

A soft Brexit would mean that the UK stays with the European single market, allowing for free trade and free movement of people across borders within the European Union – similar to the relationship that Norway enjoys with Brussels – whereas a hard Brexit would not allow for any of these, and the UK would have to renegotiate trade deals with the EU, as well as losing freedom of movement.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This report further confirms the damage which taking us out of the EU is likely to do to our economy – and the threat of an extreme Brexit, outside the single market and the customs union will undoubtedly cause severe long-term economic damage, hitting jobs, growth and living standards.

“People in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and we have set out proposals for how our place in the single market could be retained.”

“This report shows just how reckless the Tories’ Brexit gamble was. The absolute priority for our economy now is to ensure we secure an alternative to Theresa May’s damaging Brexit plans.” Lesley Laird, shadow Scottish secretary

Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird pressed for a “jobs first Brexit”, to ensure continued growth in Scottish cities.

She added: “This report shows just how reckless the Tories’ Brexit gamble was. The absolute priority for our economy now is to ensure we secure an alternative to Theresa May’s damaging Brexit plans.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, meanwhile, said that this could be a chance to “exit from Brexit”, saying: “This report shows that a Brexit, whether soft, hard or even multi-coloured will have a significant negative impact on major cities across Scotland.

“With both the Scottish and UK economy in a fragile state, we need to build that strength not take it away.”

The Liberal Democrats have been the only major party pushing for another referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal.

In response to the report, a Scottish Conservatives spokesperson said: “The UK Government is committed to getting the best possible deal out of Brexit for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“In order to help achieve this, they have already been consulting with businesses and organisations throughout the country to better understand what they need from Brexit.”

This report comes on the same day that the Scottish minister for leaving the EU, Mike Russell, meets with the Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford to discuss their opposition to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which is designed to repatriate powers from Brussels.

Both devolved administrations believe that the bill will be a “power grab” on issues that should be devolved to their respective administrations.

A UK Government spokesperson told the Scotsman that the bill will not “take away powers from devolved administrations immediately after exit”. Instead, powers transferred back to the UK will be held, to allow “intensive discussion and consultation with the devolved administrations”.

Picture courtesy of Council of the EU

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