Only a very rash supporter of Brexit could claim that Brexit has delivered on its protagonists’ promises: an economy set free to overcome the long-standing problems of sluggish growth and low productivity, attract global capital and highskilled personnel, and pursue hugely favourable trade deals. Problems that had intensified while we were (supposedly) shackled to a stagnant behemoth: the European Union. Sunlit uplands awaiting around the corner. A new Elizabethan age. Almost seven years on from the referendum of June 2016 and more than two years since the UK-EU trade & cooperation agreement took effect, the stark reality is that the United Kingdom is significantly poorer. Not only is inflation stubbornly high, often double that of Britain’s EU neighbours, but living standards are tangibly declining amid an unusually powerful wave of catch-up strikes. The bottom decile of UK households has disposable income 20% lower than that of their Slovenian peers. Irish GDP per head is more than double that of the UK. Inequality is rife.
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