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Analysis

Airbus and Vauxhall get antsy. Thanks Brexiters!

by Luke Lythgoe | 07.03.2018

As Brexit rumbles on, it’s more bad news for the UK economy. Here are six ways the economy has been damaged in recent weeks.

Vauxhall and Airbus getting antsy

Two of the biggest British-based manufacturers revealed Brexit jitters this week. Airbus warned it would have to reconsider its position in the UK if it had to stockpile parts to avoid delays from post-Brexit customs controls. The aerospace giant, which employs 15,000 people mostly in north Wales and near Bristol, described this as a “critically bad issue” which would make Airbus “think differently” about its £5 billion UK operations.

The head of PSA, the automotive group that owns Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen, came out a day later saying his company “cannot invest in a world of uncertainty” and that decisions need to be made “very soon” about giving more work to its Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, where 1,800 of its 4,500 UK employees are based.

Theresa May’s vague mush of a Brexit is damaging investment and jobs.

Hit to the High Street

Brexit is also a significant factor in the spate of well-known High Street names going to the wall. Maplin’s boss said the slump in the pound after the Brexit vote was one of the factors which had made it “impossible” for the collapsed electronics retailer to raise capital. Maplin has 200 shops across the country and employs 2,300 people.

Europe’s brightest staying away

Many of Europe’s brightest are being put off enrolling in UK universities, with the Russell Group revealing a 9% fall in EU PhD students starting research courses in 2017-18 compared to the previous year. Concerns include qualifications not being recognised in the rest of Europe and the number of supervisors leaving the UK, reports the Guardian. Brexit is battering our reputation as a research powerhouse.

Financial services keep leaving London

Financial services jobs continue to seep out of the City. Credit Suisse is moving 250 banking roles out of London as part of the first phase of its Brexit planning, with relocation to Frankfurt and Madrid most likely.

Euroclear, one of the world’s largest securities depositories, is moving its holding company to Brussels so it is less reliant on London. The group has also recently made plans to build a separate securities settlement system for Ireland.

Europeans coming for our courts

Cities across Europe are trying to poach the UK’s legal services business. Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt are all setting up English-language courts, in a bid to nab lucrative commercial disputes. “While it’s starting fairly small it could have rapid repercussions,” said Conservative MP Bob Neill. Such a gambit would have seemed futile before Brexit.

No more roaming?

Holidaymakers saw their mobile roaming charges scrapped by the EU last summer. Brexit could bring them back. A government spokesperson told Sky News that roaming charges were “subject to any negotiations” with Brussels, although a future partnership is “clearly in the interests of both sides”. Put simply, if May can’t get a good deal, then your holiday texts and data will cost you again.

Thanks Brexiters!

See our previous round-up of the toll Brexit is taking here.

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Edited by Hugo Dixon