Remoaners complaining they have been left worse off following Brexit have been quickly shut down by a former MEP. A recent report from the National Institute of Economic & Social Research (NIESR) on the economic impact of Brexit has ignited a fiery debate, drawing scepticism from key figures who challenge the validity of the findings.
The NIESR argues that Brexit has resulted in a 3 per cent lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the UK, equating to an average loss of £850 per British citizen.
Additionally, the report suggests a decline in productivity and a “permanent reduction in the willingness to invest” in the United Kingdom.
Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has robustly dismissed these claims, branding the NIESR as an “unashamedly pro-EU/anti-British institution”.
In a detailed note sent to Express.co.uk, Habib questioned the NIESR’s methodology, particularly highlighting the trade aspect of their estimates.
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He argued that for the UK’s GDP to decline by the reported 3 per cent, trade with the EU would have had to collapse by at least 25 per cent, a scenario that, according to Habib, has not happened. He pointed out that UK exports to the EU have not only maintained stability but have increased, rising from £300 billion in 2019 to approximately £340 billion in 2022.
He said: “The NIESR, an unashamedly pro-EU/ anti-British institution, has for some time been wrongly arguing that the UK’s GDP is 3 per cent lower because of Brexit.
“UK/EU trade contributes around only 12 per cent of the UK’s GDP. For our GDP to fall by the NIESR estimate of 3 per cent, trade with the EU would have had to have collapsed by at least 25 per cent. That has not happened. Indeed, exports to the EU in 2022 were around £340 billion, up from £300 billion in 2019 (pre-Brexit). Some of this post-Brexit increase was due to inflation but trade has most certainly not collapsed – it has increased.”
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The NIESR is funded by various entities, including the European Commission. Funders of the NIESR encompass government departments, research councils such as the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), charitable foundations, and the private sector.
The inclusion of the European Commission as a funding source adds a layer of complexity to the discussion, raising questions about potential biases.
Habib accused Remainers of opportunism, asserting that they are quick to grasp at any straw to undermine the UK. Despite acknowledging economic challenges, he contended that the UK is outperforming some European counterparts, notably France and Germany.
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He said: “As ever, Remoaners will grasp at any straw to rubbish the United Kingdom. In the case of the NIESR, they use convoluted modelling to produce nonsense.
“A cursory glance across Europe would inform all that the UK is doing relatively well. Yes, we are in a huge economic pickle but that is our own domestic creation. And, even with our problems, we are doing a lot better than France and Germany.
“Indeed, Brexit offers us the opportunity to rocket propel our economy. To boom we need to ditch the straitjacket of EU regulations, including the ridiculous inexorable march to Net Zero.
“All we need is a competent government with the courage to Brexit properly and take advantage of the freedoms gained.”
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