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Report with input from UEA academics says “significant” uncertainty characterises Brexit process so far

Would you still vote the same way in a Brexit referendum? Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Would you still vote the same way in a Brexit referendum? Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A report with input from two Norfolk professors has examined the state of the Brexit process one year after it officially began.

The study by academic group The UK in a Changing Europe found that “significant” political and economic uncertainty characterised the UK’s journey to leave the EU one year on from the triggering of Article 50.

It says a “lack of clear direction” across several policy sectors is affecting the country’s ability to plan for the future, and predicts that the stakes will be highest for the aviation and agriculture sectors in the negotiations going forward.

The report includes contributions from University of East Anglia (UEA) academics Prof Hussein Kassim, of the school of politics, philosophy, language and communication studies, and Prof Andy Jordan of the school of environmental sciences.

It claims that demographic changes are now “pulling public opinion in a pro-European direction”, estimating that the electorate will be 52/48 in favour of remain by 2021 as a result of rising education, ethnic diversity and generational change.

In terms of economics, the report found that GDP growth in the UK is now 0.9% lower than other members of the G7 group of nations, after being 0.6% higher before the referendum, while the Brexit vote also increased inflation by 1.7 percentage points in the year following the referendum.

Financial markets have lowered their expectations for future UK economic performance, evidenced by the pound remaining 10% below its pre-referendum value, it said.

Prof Anand Menon, director The UK in a Changing Europe, said: “When Theresa May triggered Article 50 she said she’d provide citizens and businesses with ‘as much certainty as possible, as early as possible’. One year on, our report shows she has failed to do this.

“Uncertainty reigns. This is having negative consequences for business and key sectors including agriculture, fisheries, aviation, the environment, higher education, the health service and financial services.

“In politics, the lack of an overall Conservative majority has created political instability and unpredictability. In Northern Ireland Brexit is destabilising the region and in Britain tensions between Westminster and the devolveds have been heightened.”

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