To all UK Parliamentarians:
We, the Leaders and Mayors of the UK’s Core Cities, are writing to ask you and your parliamentary colleagues to do all you can to avoid a disastrous No Deal exit from the European Union.
We believe a No Deal Scenario would be catastrophic for our city economies and therefore the UK. The Core Cities city regions are home to 20 million people and generate 26 per cent of the UK’s economic output.
They contain over 30 per cent of all the UK’s jobs and are the country’s most significant international centres for trade and distribution outside London, delivering 20 per cent of the UK’s exports.
A chaotic and unplanned exit from the EU would have severe effects on our city economies and our citizens. The Government recently forecast that a No Deal exit would shrink the economy by up to nine per cent over the next 15 years, significantly reduce the flow of goods through Dover and increase food prices and the risk of shortages. We argue that the effects of a No Deal would be felt more significantly in cities due to density of population and historically higher levels of deprivation.
A No Deal exit would affect all our cities in different ways because our economies are incredibly diverse and home to a range of different businesses and workforces.
Colleagues in Birmingham have already raised the effects of Brexit on the West Midlands’ automotive industry, with tariffs of around 10 per cent on vehicles and parts slowing production, wiping out profit margins and costing jobs.
In Bristol and the West of England Airbus has voiced its concerns about a No Deal exit saying it will cost jobs and future investment in the Aerospace industry. Cardiff is concerned about the impact on its financial services sector, the main driver of jobs in the city and in the Capital Region over recent years, with analysis by the Centre for Cities placing Cardiff’s financial services sector as one of the most vulnerable of all UK cities in the event of a no deal Brexit. Glasgow has between 10 and 14 per cent of its workforce in sectors exposed to a No Deal Brexit.
In Leeds, No Deal risks exacerbating existing skills shortages in digital and tech which could undermine the ability of the city’s tech companies to compete. In addition, the continuing uncertainty about the regulation of EU-UK data transfers in future is a major concern for the city’s digital businesses.
Liverpool is concerned about its thriving university sector, in particular the hurdles that reduced freedom of movement may pose to students who are EU citizens and the future ability of UK universities to participate in EU programmes.
Manchester is concerned a No Deal scenario could impact on passenger numbers at its airport – the busiest outside London – while tech companies in Newcastle are producing their own no-deal Brexit plans but are still worried about a number of issues including the level of VAT that may be applied at borders.
Nottingham is worried about the effects of a No Deal on retention and recruitment in the NHS and wider Adult Social Care workforce locally, many of whom are from European Union nations, while Sheffield believes No Deal tariff barriers could badly affect its world-renowned advanced manufacturing sector.
As you can see, the effects on our city economies of crashing out of the EU without a deal could be little short of disastrous. Our leaders and mayors are working hard – with CEOs and local authority officers – to prepare communities and businesses, but it is a scenario we do not wish to face.
We urge you to do all you can to avoid a No Deal for the sake of Core Cities and the country.