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Northern Powerhouse

Brexit Weekly Digest 5 November

Last week saw the bill to hold a general election on 12 December receive Royal Assent. This follows the confirmation of a Brexit delay until at least 31 January 2020 after the EU granted an EU Exit extension request. The Withdrawal Agreement vote in the Commons will now, likely, not progress before the general election.

The UK economy looks set to narrowly avoid a recession in 2019 but current growth is weak and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit means our short-term prospects are not much improved. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) believes that the vote to Leave the EU has already had a lasting impact on the economy.

Currency remains a barometer for a nation’s prospects. Stability is also prized, a sign of a steady, predictable growth. Only a handful of countries can claim both.  Britain used to be amongst them. Since suffering a historic fall in value in the days after the UK’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, the pound has become one of the world’s most volatile currencies.

EU's chief negotiator  said any British government would face a “proportional” response if it sought to roll back core social, environmental and consumer standards. The EU and UK have agreed to negotiate a free-trade agreement as part of the Prime Minister’s proposed Brexit deal but Mr Barnier stressed that tariff and quota-free access to the EU were linked to maintaining regulatory standards. “Access to our markets will be proportional to the commitments taken to the common rules,” he said. “The agreement we are ready to discuss is zero tariffs, zero quotas, zero dumping.”

Boris Johnson's Brexit deal will leave the UK £70bn worse off than if it had remained in the EU, a study by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has found. It concluded that GDP would be 3.5% lower in 10 years' time under the deal.The independent forecaster's outlook is one of the first assessments of how the economy will fare under the new deal.

Cargo shippers are diverting goods to more ports across Britain to ensure stable supply lines due to uncertainty over whether the UK will leave the European Union without an agreement, a top port executive said. Peel Ports - the UK’s second-largest port operator - has seen more cargo traffic shifting to other gateways in an effort to avoid overdependence on Dover in southern England, which is Europe’s busiest ferry port.

The BBC report that the Brexit deadline has come and gone, leaving business nursing stockpiles of essential product and equipment. Fifty feet under the surface of Dorset, Portland stone miner Michael Poultney described what his business has been been through. "We had to stockpile in March because we were concerned about no-deal. We then obviously had to roll that forward to April. "We felt like they couldn't possibly go for a no-deal in October again, but as it got closer to the date, we got frightened, I got really concerned.”

The United States has pushed past Germany and France as the most common trading partner for British businesses and looks set to keep this position after Britain leaves the European Union, according to an annual survey by HSBC.  The proportion of British businesses naming Germany or France as one of their top three export destinations has almost halved over the past year, a period of political and economic uncertainty when Brexit was delayed three times.

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