Chronic uncertainty defines the Brexit process, new academic report reveals

Posted by ap507 at Mar 29, 2018 12:03 AM |
University of Leicester academic contributes to study

Issued by University of Leicester on 29 March 2018

Significant political and economic uncertainty characterises the Brexit process one year after the UK triggered Article 50, a new report by academic group The UK in a Changing Europe finds. It includes a chapter by Adam Cygan, Professor in the Leicester Law School.

Across several policy sectors, a lack of clear direction is affecting the ability to plan for the future.

The situation is far from stable. The report Article 50 one year on finds, demographic changes are pulling public opinion in a pro-European direction. By 2021, the electorate will be 52:48 Remain and by 2026 it will be 54:46 Remain as a result of rising education, rising ethnic diversity and generational change.

Public opinion about immigration appears to have shifted: it is viewed more positively and as a much less salient issue, especially as the cabinet and country have moved in a more liberal direction. However, the report finds there is no clear vision of immigration policy after Brexit, let alone any concrete policy decisions.

When it comes to economics, the report finds:

  • GDP growth in the UK was, on average, 0.6% higher than the other G7 members before the referendum. In 2017 it was 0.9% lower

Taking countries that matched UK growth prior to the referendum, academics* found that by the third quarter of 2017 UK GDP was approximately 1.3% lower than it would have been if the UK had not voted for Brexit

  • Financial markets have lowered their expectations for future UK economic performance which is evidenced by the pound remaining 10% below its pre-referendum value
  • The Brexit vote has increased inflation by 1.7 percentage points in the year following the referendum.

In Northern Ireland there are fears that the problems facing the island of Ireland are either misunderstood by London or wilfully ignored. The UK has not managed to provide the necessary detail to reconcile the need to avoid a hard border and leaving the single market and customs union.

In aviation, the stakes in the negotiations are high, with the most likely scenario being that market access will be lost by both sides and UK industry and consumers will be hit especially hard. In agriculture even a relatively ‘soft’ Brexit would lead to small producer price changes. Cereal and dairy farms will be relatively unaffected by post-Brexit changes to prices, while many beef and sheep farms will be more vulnerable.

Legally, while the Withdrawal Bill symbolises the fact that the UK is ‘taking back control,’ transition means the UK will remained bound by its EU obligations while lacking voting rights.

Professor Anand Menon, director The UK in a Changing Europe, said: “When Theresa May triggered Article 50 she said she’d provide citizens and businesses with ‘as much certainty as possible, as early as possible’. One year on, our report shows she has failed to do this.

“Uncertainty reigns. This is having negative consequences for business and key sectors including agriculture, fisheries, aviation, the environment, higher education, the health service and financial services.

“In politics, the lack of an overall Conservative majority has created political instability and unpredictability. In Northern Ireland Brexit is destabilising the region and in Britain tensions between Westminster and the devolveds have been heightened.”

Professor Adam Cygan contributed an analysis to this Report which examines the challenges Parliament has faced and is likely to face in the coming year to deliver Brexit.  With only one year remaining until the UK formally leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, Professor Cygan highlights the lack of consensus amongst MPs, from all sides of the political spectrum, over what kind of Brexit the UK will end up with, and the enormous amount of legislation that Parliament still needs to pass in the next 12 months in order that the UK leaves the EU in an orderly manner.

The report is being released on the day of The UK in a Changing Europe’s major conference – Article 50: one year on, which features high profile politicians, civil servants, economists, journalists and academics including: Ali McGovern MP; Allie Renison, Institute of Directors; Shanker Singham, Institute of Economic Affairs; Stephanie Flanders, Bloomberg Economics; Gary Gibbon, Channel 4 News and Professor Rob Ford.

The 28 chapter, 73 page report was written by academics from The UK in a Changing Europe and covers what has happened since Article 50 was triggered, the negotiations and process of Brexit, politics and economics over the last year as well as what is likely to happen in key sectors. Report authors include John Curtice, Catherine Barnard, Jonathan Portes, Rob Ford and Anand Menon.


Notes to editors:

1. To interview Professor Anand Menon director of The UK in a Changing Europe, or any of the other report’s authors, please contact Ben Miller communications manager at The UK in a Changing Europe on 020 7848 7174 or email

2. The UK in a Changing Europe promotes rigorous, high-quality and independent research into the complex and ever changing relationship between the UK and the EU. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and is based at King's College London.

3. You can download the report here or request a PDF or a hard copy by contacting Ben Miller.

4. The report’s chapters and authors are:

  1. Introduction by Anand Menon
  2. British politics: the referendum and beyond by Anand Menon and Alan Wager
  3. Developments in public opinion by John Curtice
  4. The Withdrawal Bill by Catherine Barnard
  5. Politics in the EU by Nicola Chelotti
  6. Negotiating Brexit by Steve Peers
  7. Transition by Simon Usherwood
  8. The Trade Bill and rolled over agreements by Lorand Bartels and Samuel Coldicutt
  9. Parliament by Adam Cygan
  10. Brexit and Ireland/Northern Ireland by Colin Harvey
  11. The EU institutions by Hussein Kassim
  12. The Brexit endgame by Anand Menon and Alan Wager
  13. Demographic change and public opinion by Rob Ford and Maria Sobolewska
  14. Devolution by Nicola McEwen
  15. The UK economy: initial evidence by Thomas Sampson
  16. The public finances by Peter Levell and Thomas Pope
  17. Immigration after Brexit by Jonathan Portes
  18. Trade by Swati Dhingra and Nikhil Datta
  19. Regional and sectoral impacts of Brexit by Chloe Billing, Philip McCann, and Raquel Ortega-Argilés
  20. What’s next for UK agriculture? by Andrew Moxey, Carmen Hubbard, David Harvey, Anne Liddon and Michael Wallace
  21. Aviation in the Brexit negotiations by Hussein Kassim
  22. Environment by Charlotte Burns, Viviane Gravey and Andrew Jordan
  23. Financial services by John-Paul Salter
  24. Fisheries by Craig McAngus and Christopher Huggins
  25. Foreign policy by Richard G Whitman
  26. Health and the NHS by Tamara Hervey and Sarah McCloskey
  27. Higher education by Ludovic Highman, Simon Marginson, William Locke and Vassiliki Papatsiba
  28. Pharmaceuticals by Jean McHale

* conducted by academics from the universities of Bonn, Oxford and Tübingen.

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