Is an undeniable fact that Brexit has been a disaster for the British economy with an estimated loss of over £100bn annually. I take no pleasure in hearing and writing about companies that have suffered greatly or simply gone out of business due to Brexit, but sadly I have two exceptions to this rule: Brexit-loving, Tim Martin’s Wetherspoon’s, and Donald Trump’s golf clubs.
It saddens me that any business should go bust and employees lose their jobs due to the biggest con every inflicted on the British people but this is today’s reality and we are all paying more taxes as a result. Our inflation is higher, our interest rates are higher and our standards of living are lower. On the third anniversary of Brexit, can we do anything about it?
Trump’s Scottish golf clubs
Trump boasted that Brexit would help his businesses. Following the 2016 Brexit vote he predicted that when the pound goes down more people would come to his golf clubs. The reality is that his Turnberry resort in South Ayeshire reported a pre-tax loss of £3.7mn for 2021. His son, Eric Trump, who signed off the accounts at Turnberry, has blamed Brexit for the losses, saying:
“Brexit has impacted our business as supply chains have been impacted by availability of drivers and staff, reducing deliveries and the availability of certain product lines.”
In their latest results to December 2022, Wetherspoon’s sales, which improved over Christmas, still lag behind pre-Covid sales. Tim Martin, the boss of the giant but shrinking pub chain announced that ten pubs were closing and a further 35 were up for sale. Martin has blamed rising costs as the reason for the sale of the pubs. An ambition to have over 1,000 pubs open has now been scaled back and the current number of 844 pubs will be lower still in the months to come if all the pubs are sold.
We need to remember that the boss of Wetherspoon’s was a huge fan of Brexit but in July 2021 he was calling for visa schemes to help EU workers get jobs on his pubs. It’s so ironic that he seems to have been chastened by the negative impact that Brexit has had on his business and perhaps like Donald Trump his mind may have been changed. Would he talk frankly to North East Bylines about freedom of movement of labour as a solution to the massive shortage of employees that the hospitality industry needs?
Amber Rudd, former Home Secretary in a wide-ranging interview reported in the Independent said:
“It had now dawned on Tory Brexiteers that leaving the EU had been a failure. If you discuss Brexit after they have had a drink or two, they will admit it has been a disaster. It was an act of self-harm.”
The downsides of Brexit
Our sister publication Yorkshire By Lines is running a continuously updated feature called The Davis Downside Dossier. This feature has been inspired by the former Brexit Secretary who, told the House of Commons: “there will be no downside to Brexit at all, and considerable upsides”. As of Sunday 5 February, they had identified 915 individual negative impacts of Brexit. The dossier features many companies who have been forced to close or relocated to the EU resulting in job losses and areas and industries that have lost out on grants and funding
This report by BBC Shropshire is a great illustration of just how widespread the damage is to company’s all over the UK.
The report quotes Nic Laurens as saying that he had to move 90% of his company to Ireland in order to continue trading with the EU. The report also highlights that red tape is a huge barrier to trade as confirmed by a survey of 500 firms carried out by the British Chamber of Commerce. More than half of them said they were still grappling with the rules for trading within the Union.
The red tape may have deterred some small exporters altogether. A study of customs classifications shows the variety of goods British businesses can export has diminished.
What can we do?
A democratic vote was held and the UK voted to leave the EU. This is a fact but more and more people are acknowledging what an unmitigated disaster it’s been for the UK. Even the Telegraph agrees with the analysis. If a vote was held today, the latest opinion polls are saying support to remain has grown to 58%.
But how can we all make a real difference? I personally think we need a new government. But at the same time we must continue to educate ourselves on Brexit and talk about rejoining the EU. It won’t be soon but we must keep up the pressure, continue to highlight just how damaging Brexit has been to all of us, how much it’s costing us all individually and collectively. There is a General Election within two years so we must all remember that great political change will be happening soon.
The only way to achieve true prosperity for all and an uninhibited future for all our young people is by rejoining the EU.
Take the initiative and talk about the EU with your friends and family and become active in the campaign to rejoin if you can .
Nothing will be achieved unless there is a groundswell of support to rejoin and pressure is applied to our weak politicians,
We can and must rejoin the EU. We are stronger together.