No-deal Brexit could hamper South Yorkshire export market due to 'heavy dependence' on EU

South Yorkshire’s export market could be seriously hampered by a no-deal Brexit because the sector is ‘heavily dependent’ on the European Union, experts have said.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 5:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 6:19 pm
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Regional challenges arising from the UK leaving the political and economic bloc without a deal post October 31, were outlined in a report by Sheffield City Region bosses.

Documents show the county’s export market sends 57 per cent of the value of all goods going to the EU and bosses warned ‘just-in-time supply chain production could be difficult to maintain’ in a no-deal scenario.

The report also repeats a government estimate that the wider Yorkshire & Humber region’s GDP will decrease by 8.5 per cent in the next 15 years.

But one Sheffield-based businessman and Brexit campaigner rubbished the report calling it the latest from ‘project fear’.

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Bosses outlined business preparation, trade, investment and the labour market as ‘crucial areas’ for no-deal Brexit planning.

To mitigate effects of a no-deal Brexit, regional policy chiefs are advising to recruit a specialist business advisers and/or an experts in tariffs to provide advice to exporters.

They’re also calling for a ‘targeted marketing and support campaign’ for businesses in at risk supply chains trading with the EU.

Paul Johnson, economic policy manager at Sheffield City Region, said: “South Yorkshire’s export market is heavily dependent on the EU with 57 per cent of the value of all goods going to this market.

“Just-in-time supply chain production could be difficult to maintain in a no-deal scenario due to EU rules of origin.

“Given the critical role of South Yorkshire’s manufacturing sector within the supply chain, the introduction of tariffs and border checks may have a disproportionately greater impact on this sector as well as the logistics sector.

"This is likely to include an increase in costs due to new administrative burdens and delays.

“Increased barriers to trade will likely lead to reduced export volumes and increased import costs and inflation through a further fall in the value of the pound.

Businessman and Brexit campaigner Steve Winstone said: “The latest project fear report seems yet another desperate attempt to thwart the opportunity of Brexit by any means.

“I’ve traded with India, China, the US and the EU for many years. Most people who spread the project fear, in my experience, don’t.

“Even so, this isn’t a prediction of an 8.5 per cent shrinking of the economy, it’s a case that GDP will grow very slightly less quickly.

“GDP is the amount of ‘product’ that the population produces in total. The basis of the ‘Remain’ comparison is that we would have a larger population through unrestricted immigration; in turn more people more production. This doesn’t mean that individually U.K. citizens would be better off, just more people producing collectively more and using more NHS resource, school resources for example.

“That said, there will be a brief period of economic uncertainty as we adapt to change and new markets will open up.

“The whole 8.5 per cent is a load of nonsense.”