University analysis piles pressure on ministers to get the best Brexit deal

The need to strike the best possible Brexit deal has been demonstrated by recent analysis, suggesting that some models could cut manufacturing exports by as much as a third.

Trade experts based at the University of Sussex have assessed the possible impact that various future relationships with Europe could have on the sector.

Overall they modelled five different scenarios, ranging from the “softest” form of Brexit, in which Britain remained a member of the single market, to the most dramatic departure, in which the UK was forced to trade in accordance with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Earlier this week, the panel of senior academics published a blog outlining their findings and warning that certain options could present significant difficulties. Areas of the country where there is a significant manufacturing base – including Birmingham, Coventry, Sunderland and County Durham – would take a disproportionate hit in these circumstances.

They note that manufacturing makes up a significant proportion of UK trade, accounting for more than 40 per cent of our experts.

“The impact of Brexit on manufacturing is therefore of considerable importance to the UK economy,” they said.

“It’s also worth paying particular attention to manufacturing because the availability of very detailed data on trade flows and trade barriers in manufacturing makes it possible to undertake data-intensive policy modelling.”

The report was published on the same day that leaked Government data suggested that car makers could see a 13 per cent increase in their manufacturing costs outside the EU.

The Government has sought to allay fears and played down the prospect of Britain walking away from negotiations having failed to secure an agreement with Brussels – the scenario which the University of Sussex suggests would be most damaging and which many manufacturers would be especially fearful of.

A spokesman said: “We are seeking an unprecedented, comprehensive and ambitious economic partnership – one that works for all parts of the UK. We are not expecting a no-deal scenario.”

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