European Movement UK on the Autumn Statement

Published on November 22, 2023

The Government had the opportunity to deliver an autumn statement addressing the concerns that over 1,700 UK businesses have reported to the European Movement UK in our Business Impact Report, but the announcements today barely touch the edges. That's because no amount of personal or business tax cuts will undo the damage that Brexit has done and continues to do to our economy. 

So, while commentators and politicians will spend the next days, weeks, and months debating the details of the Autumn Statement announced today the one thing that will not feature in that debate is the ongoing impact of Brexit on our economy.  No amount of personal or business tax cuts will undo the damage that Brexit has done and continues to do to our economy.  

The truth is that the true extent of the economic damage of Brexit will take 15 years to fully materialise. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research predicts that by 2035 the economy will be between 5-6% smaller than it would be if we had not left the European Union. This means that if it were not for Brexit our economy would be much stronger than the economic picture presented by the chancellor in the Autumn Statement.  

Brexit is already costing the UK about £850 a year for every person in the country. And it’s going to get much worse, unless the government finds the courage to start reversing Brexit. The Brexit hammer blow is set to reach £2300 – per person, per year – over the next decade. The NIESR estimates the cost will rise to 5 to 6% of GDP a year (around £115-135 billion at today’s prices) by 2035. 

Brexit is impacting every part of our economy. From GDP to productivity, from business investment to income and consumption. That's why we believe that the best long-term decision for a brighter future that the Prime Minister could make is to put the UK on the path to reclaiming our place in the heart of Europe with access to the single market and customs union.  

Sir Nick Harvey, CEO. European Movement UK 

“Britain cannot afford Brexit. Budget tinkering cannot hide that elephant in the room. If Jeremy Hunt really wants to set the UK back on a path to growth and put more money in British pockets, he should announce a clear medium-term plan to get the UK back in the single market and invite other parties to sign up to it. That plan would take time to deliver. But it would start to restore investor confidence overnight.

Last week we published our Business Impact Report detailing the post-Brexit experiences of over 1700 businesses. The Government had the opportunity to deliver an autumn statement that would address those concerns, but the announcements today barely touch the edges.   

Just over 93% of businesses we surveyed said that Brexit has affected them negatively, 95.5% told us that they would benefit from regaining access to the EU Single Market.   

If the UK was still a member of the European Union today’s Autumn Statement could have addressed the cost-of-living crisis, the impact of Covid on our economy and the inflation crisis. The European Movement UK is urging politicians to listen to the voice of UK Businesses, call out the calamity of Brexit, and improve our trading relationship with our European neighbours.”  


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