Suffolk MPs reflect on studies predicting poor outcomes after Brexit

MPs have been shown impact studies on the effect of Brexit on the economy. Picture: PA/TIM IRELAND

MPs have been shown impact studies on the effect of Brexit on the economy. Picture: PA/TIM IRELAND - Credit: PA

Suffolk MPs have pledged to fight for businesses in the county after Brexit impact studies showed the region’s economy was expected to suffer after leaving the European Union.

The impact studies released to MPs by the Government yesterday after they were leaked to the media and amid pressure from Labour and pro-EU Tories, suggest the nation’s economic growth will take a hit under all scenarios.

For the Eastern region, the economy will be worse off by 1.8% in the single market; 5% with a free trade arrangement and 8% poorer under no deal. By comparison, the North East and West Midlands are expected to be worst hit, while London is forecast to fare best – though still worse than without Brexit.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, who campaigned to remain in the EU, criticised the delays in releasing the assessments and said it was important to remain in the single market for at least two years, to help protect Suffolk businesses selling services such as IT and insurance to Europe.

“I’m not convinced it will be possible to find a way to leave the EU without damaging our economy,” he added. “I said that during the referendum campaign and I’ve not heard anything since that would lead be to believe any different. However, we’ve got to do our best to find the best possible solution to the conundrum that we are in. I just don’t think it helps when the government are not being honest.”

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Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he would oppose any “no deal” scenario adding that it was important to keep trading ties with Europe. “Our area is very close to Europe, we’ve traded with them for centuries and I envisage we will continue to do so and that’s what we have to strive to achieve,” he added.

Mr Aldous highlighted the region’s important farming role as the “bread basket” of Britain and said there was “a lot to unpick” with the agricultural policy.

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However, he added that EU policies had not helped Suffolk’s fishing industry and there were opportunities to improve after Brexit.

Labour Euro MP Alex Mayer said: “I have asked the Government again and again for a proper regional assessment of the economic impact of Brexit. Finally we can see why they were so reluctant to respond. Their own figures show Brexit will damage our region’s economy.

“The Tory fantasy of a Brexit bonanza has been shown up for the nonsense it is. Brexit will leave our country weaker, poorer and more isolated. It is a crying shame.”

A Government spokesman said: “This document does not represent Government policy and does not consider the outcome we are seeking in the negotiations.

“As ministers clearly set out in the House, this is provisional internal analysis, part of a broad ongoing programme of analysis, and further work is in progress.”

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