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It is no secret that the UK is presently ensconced in Brexit-caused uncertainty. The crux of this uncertainty, invariably, is the potential impact of Brexit on aspects of the UK’s way of life. The fact that doomsday scenarios are aplenty isn’t helping, fuelling even greater worry among people. But, really, how will Brexit affect the UK? Or, for that matter, how will it impact Yorkshire?
Straight away, Brexit’s impact on Yorkshire will be considerable, and the manifestations will vary. Here are some of them:
The Hull Live points out that based on government analysis, all Brexit-related scenarios “will make the UK poorer.” Crucially, Yorkshire (and Humberside) will not be spared, with its economic growth is predicted to shrink anywhere between 0.25% and 8.5% depending on whether a deal or not is reached. Exacerbating matters is that according to a B Daily News report, more than half of Yorkshire’s business leaders are woefully underprepared for any and all Brexit scenarios. Much of their consternation comes from changes in immigration laws, which will likely affect employment and workforce recruitment. Most businesses in Yorkshire employ a good percentage of EU workers, and said changes in immigration laws may lead to a mass exodus by employees. Already, some companies are holding fire on hiring EU nationals, while expressing apprehensions on their ability to replace EU staff who may be displaced by Brexit.
Manufacturing: An Industry in Danger
The manufacturing industry is going to be hit the hardest by Brexit, with analysis forecasting a UK-wide decrease in production. Output is expected to dip 2.1% should the UK remain part of the European Economic Area; if not, the declined will be higher at 5.5%. This is certainly bad news for Yorkshire and its long robust manufacturing industry. Worse still, this reduction in production may very well lead to job cuts as companies recoup lost income from lower outputs. A job lost is one job loss too many, and hundreds of workers in the Yorkshire manufacturing industry will likely be lost due to Brexit.
A Pinch in Real Estate
Yorkshire real estate is already feeling the pinch because of Brexit. The commercial property market, in particular, is now on a considerable slow down. Presently, there is a shortage of available offices and industrial properties, even as demand for them decreased at the tail-end of last year (down to 18% from 38% for the former and down to 41% from 46% for the latter). There is also a surprising surplus of available retail space (up by as much as 32% in the third quarter of 2018). This means that retailers are holding fire in terms of snapping up business space, likely because of the uncertainties in the manufacturing sector. Given the predicted economic decline, which will be caused by Brexit, these very same trends might very well continue. Consequentially, commercial rentals are forecasted to increase, more so with a no-deal Brexit. That means more bad news for Yorkshire businesses, which are set to bear the brunt of Brexit’s ramifications.
A Blow to . . . Sports Teams
Believe it or not, Brexit can even affect Yorkshire’s professional sports teams, particularly our football clubs, Huddersfield Town and Leeds United. Huddersfield are currently bottom of the Premier League table, and have struggled all season long, losing 18 of their 25 matches so far, with only 2 wins to show for their troubles. It’s no wonder then that the listings on bwin Premier League has them odds-on to lose all their upcoming matches. In short, it has been a very disappointing season for the Terriers so far. And what’s worse is that improving the squad next season could get a lot harder due to, yes, Brexit. With freedom of movement soon to be a thing of the past, signing foreign players may be harder and costlier than ever before, which may make it difficult for Huddersfield to sign the best foreign players that can improve the team, for what looks like a season in the Championship. Leeds on the other hand are currently vying for promotion to the Premier League. But even with promotion on the cards, Leeds will face the same issues that other teams in the Premier League will be facing – even costlier for a newly promoted club that will be looking to add new faces to their squad in the hopes of staying in the top flight. Work permits for new players is without doubt one of the main concerns all clubs looking improve their squad will be facing.
But for all the doomsday scenarios attributed to Brexit, it should be noted that nothing is set in stone just yet. For now, the best thing to do is prepare, which is exactly one of the objectives of the “Brexit: What next?” public debate that we reported on recently. The event is the first of its kind in Yorkshire, and hopefully, it can shed more light on how exactly Brexit will impact the county. Just as important, it is hoped that these debates can help Yorkshire prepare better for the UK’s final good-bye to the EU.