'We will only begin to realise the consequences of Brexit in 2017'

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 2 Jan 2017

THERE'S no doubting the big debate of 2016 when it comes to the business of politics and trade. Here we get a take on the outcome of the EU Referendum six months on from the Brexit poll from June.

LORD Haskins, chairman of Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, has been a vocal figure when it came to Britain's relationship with the EU, as a staunch 'remainer':

IT is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will withdraw completely from the EU. How will this affect our region? To date there has been little choice following the June referendum, but as time goes on, Brexit will have an increasing impact on our daily lives.

The Pound has weakened sharply against the Euro and the Dollar since June, and this trend is unlikely to reverse. We will only begin to see the consequences of this in 2017.

Because we import 50 per cent of our food, prices will increase considerably, by about 5 per cent. Clothes will be similarly affected. Most of our cars are imported, so they will cost more although petrol prices are also likely to rise. Wages will not rise enough to affect these household costs. However, a prolonged weakness of the currency could help our renewable energy ambitions for the Humber, making it more worthwhile to invest here rather than elsewhere. Domestic food and clothes manufacturers will have an opportunity to undercut foreign competition.

Businesses dislike uncertainly but that is what Brexit is creating because of prolonged negotiation and no clear outcome at this stage.

The complexity of the situation has been recognised by David Davis, the MP for Haltemprice and Howden, who is in charge of these negotiations, which may involve years of haggling before we can be sure of the outcome. Businesses in such circumstances will be reluctant to invest, which will damage the economy and job prospects.

ICELANDIC COD WARS: Some have suggested that the great fishing industry of the Humber could be revived, implying that the EU was responsible for the collapse that took place 40 years ago.

Assuming that the UK has no special arrangements with the EU and that the flow of European workers into the country is severely restricted, there will be serious problems for our hospitals, food companies, farmers and many local manufacturers who have become heavily reliant on these skilled hard working migrants.

This could create opportunities for local workers if they acquire the skills and commitment which businesses demand. But it is a very big 'if'.

Substantial EU funds have been used for flood relief and other infrastructure projects in the Humber. The University of Hull has also benefited from research funding.

The Government has guaranteed this funding in the short-term, but the situation thereafter is unclear. Farmers also enjoy substantial EU subsidies which will be safe in the short-term but a British government is unlikely to be as generous as the EU has been to them. Once outside the Single Market, there is a risk that the Humber ports will see a reduction in EU trade and border controls will be introduced to collect tariffs on imports. Rather than seeing a reduction in regulation, as promised, the ports, like the rest of the economy may suffer an increase.

Some have suggested that the great fishing industry of the Humber could be revived, implying that the EU was responsible for the collapse that took place 40 years ago.


BACK REMAIN: Lord Haskins, chairman of the Humber LEP.

That disaster was caused by overfishing and the Icelandic Cod Wars which happened before Britain joined the EU and present EU regulations are successfully reviving fish stocks in the North Sea. So why change them? Besides would the present generation accept the harsh and dangerous conditions of work which is a feature of deep-sea fishing?

From a business perspective, Brexit poses risks and opportunities.

There is a determination across the local business community to get on with it and make the best of the situation – no matter which side of the argument people were on.

There will be a lot more uncertainty ahead, but together we must keep making the case for our area to ensure it is not forgotten in the negotiations.

'Those who adapt to changing circumstances will flourish', says resort MP who backed Britain's EU exit

CLEETHORPES and Immingham MP Martin Vickers was a Conservative who was keen to see Britain leave the EU:

Our membership of the EU has been controversial from the outset. Yes, the British people voted to remain as members in the 1975 referendum but that was only a couple of years after we joined and it was a very different institution from the one into which it has evolved. Given a chance it was always possible that voters would show their true feelings and vote to leave, and so it has come to pass.

The period we are now going through causes uncertainty; people are restless and frustrated because they want Brexit as soon as possible, business leaders are putting forward their case and Eurocrats fear the break-up of the whole system saying that there will be no favourable deal. This is the period of the phoney war.

Once Article 50 is triggered things get serious and the political leaders of the main EU countries become involved who will take a more pragmatic and realistic approach seeking to ensure a deal favourable to all is achieved. Britain is, whatever some may seek to portray, in a very good negotiating position since we have a trading deficit with the EU. There is much talk about the UK having to pay for access to the Single Market; why?

There is just as good a case, if not better, for the EU having to pay for access to our market.If the compromise position ends up as World Trading Organisation rules, so be it. The EU's biggest trading partner is the United States; they are not members of the Single Market nor is there a trade deal between the EU and USA.Brexit means we will look beyond the EU to a greater extent than has been the case in recent years. The only growing economy in Western Europe is the UK so rather than tying ourselves to a group of economies that are in recession we can look to the wider world.

The growing economies are in Asia, Central and South America.I recognise that there are genuine concerns about funding that comes from such as the EU's Regional Growth Fund. What must be remembered is that we pay in more than we gain therefore it will be for our own government to decide between the various projects seeking taxpayers money and there is no intention whatsoever of ending this type of funding.

Indeed, Prime Minister Theresa May, has made clear that the poorer and more disadvantaged parts of the country will be a greater priority in her administration.Likewise the appeals by our universities, and colleges who carry out vital research; in these cases it has already been made clear that for the period of this Parliament, i.e. until May 2020 this will continue.

No government can promise funding beyond the next election so the complaints that a longer time frame is needed must accept that no government can make assumptions about the outcome of the next election.

Since the referendum we have had a host of statistics that have shown manufacturing, retail sales and much more are holding up or, please note, improving and unemployment continues to fall. My message is clear: Britain has a bright independent future; our businesses will flourish, or at least those who adapt to changing circumstances – but that is as it always has been.

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