A post-Brexit UK faces ‘economic chaos’ with disruption that will ‘take years to rebuild’


Leading political, cultural, business and academic figures from across the UK have warned that the departure from the European Union, combined with the fallout from Covid-19, will lead to a prolonged period of ‘economic chaos’, with disruption to industries that that ‘will take years to rebuild.

Centre for Brexit Studies

Birmingham City University

Professor Alex de Ruyter, Director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University - who will present at the online conference on Wednesday 23 September, said that tense trade negotiations between the UK and EU had already determined ‘a prolonged period of economic chaos lies ahead’ and that recent events suggest further politically and economically turbulent months and years ahead.

Politician and visiting professor Sir Vince Cable; Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King's College London Anand Menon, Birmingham Hippodrome Chief Executive and UK Theatre President Fiona Allan, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Chief Executive Paul Faulkner, Birmingham City Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Julian Beer and University of Birmingham Industrial Strategy Professor David Bailey are amongst the 27 speakers and panellists set to appear at Global Birmingham – Beyond Brexit, to be broadcast via Zoom.

Speaking ahead of the event, Former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Brexit Studies, Sir Vince Cable said, “In a world of unknowns, the known unknown of Brexit is more predictable than most. It seems likely that there will be a minimal agreement to prevent serious disruption but not the comprehensive free trade agreement once promised. A gradual process of decoupling from Europe will take their toll but in a gradual rather than spectacular manner.”

These comments follow a tumultuous sequence of events and announcements around the UK and EU negotiations, which has seen Britain’s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis publicly admit that government plans to reinterpret Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland would breach international law, as well as new European Commission President Ursula von der Layen criticising the British government’s approach to negotiations in recent months in her State of the European Union speech in Brussels last week.

Birmingham Hippodrome Chief Executive and UK Theatre President Fiona Allan, currently lobbying on behalf of the challenging situation facing arts and culture organisations - in particular, theatre and live music - said, “Our sector, much of which is still not reopen, has very large concerns now over workforce and talent pipeline.  It will take years to rebuild to where we were pre-COVID and the uncertainties of Brexit are an additional layer of angst: It’s a layer of uncertainty on top of a layer of uncertainty.”

The future of West Midlands automotive manufacturing in a post-Brexit world is amongst the top concerns for Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington and trade unionist Jack Dromey, who said, “A no-deal Brexit would have a profoundly damaging impact on British manufacturing. I have a Jaguar Land Rover plant in my constituency, and I fear that the combined impact of Covid-19 and a No Deal Brexit could make it impossible for the company to continue manufacturing in Britain. That's why it's absolutely critical that as we leave the EU we have a strong agreement that protects Britain's national interest.”  

The full Global Birmingham – Beyond Brexit online conference programme and delegate booking are available via Eventbrite. Follow #CBSGlobalBrum on Twitter for updates from the event on the day.

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