There has been much dark talk about the disruption Brexit was causing for exporters and the possibility of firms either going bust or having to move production to the continent, says Matthew Lynn in The Spectator. However, the data tells a “different story”. In January, exports to the EU fell to £7.9bn, but they bounced back to £11.6bn in February. Overall, they were “only slightly below last year’s £12bn monthly average, a “minimal difference”, particularly given that Europe is still in lockdown and a “deep depression”.
This goes to show, firstly, that Brexit has added little more difficulty to exporters than some red tape and, secondly, that any “hit” to the UK economy is, at around 0.25% of total output, “trivial”. Nor have other “dire” Brexit warnings come to pass, says The Spectator’s Steerpike.
George Osborne declared households would be poorer by £4,300 in 2030; real disposable income in fact rose from £5,177 in the second quarter of 2016 to £5,354 at the end of 2020. Predictions of up to 500,000 job losses have been upended by data showing employment rose to 76.6% in January 2020, the highest since 1971. And instead of a predicted recession, until Covid-19 struck, the economy kept growing.
The latest YouGov poll finds that 46% now believe that the outcome of the 2016 referendum was “right” while 43% think it was “wrong”, says Peter Kellner in The New European. This turning of the tide coincides with the EU-UK vaccine spat. Significantly, an Opinium poll also found that, while 37% are eurosceptics, another 24% want a closer relationship without rejoining the EU. That’s a total of 61%. At the next election, Labour should therefore be able to win votes by combining a new deal with the EU with the “specific needs of the voters” that it needs to win back. Otherwise, if Johnson can persuade us that Brexit is going well, he “will be hard to defeat”.
Kris Paterson is a writer for WhatJobs.com