Day by day, UK is getting poorer

Rye and Battle Observer letters
Rye and Battle Observer letters

From: David Daniels CBE, Beech House Lane, Robertsbridge

Brexit was promoted as a way of making us better off, but is having the opposite effect. Over two years the pound has dropped 25 per cent in value because of Brexit.

Britain has a national debt of £1,773 billion, around £26,737 per man, woman and child, which is increasing by approximately £73.5 billion each year.

This year the interest on the UK national debt will be £48 billion and is the fifth highest government spending after pensions, health care, welfare and education.

In 2018 we will spend more on debt interest than defence. Because of the national debt and the Government’s budget deficit of £20 billion, these financial millstones will hamstring our ability to invest and prosper after Brexit. Adding to this toxic financial mix will be the likely departure, post Brexit, of many international companies from the UK, the loss of many jobs in the financial sector and the ensuing loss of confidence internationally in the UK as a sound and safe place to invest.

Britain’s problems of low productivity, low educational attainment, massive inequality, a north/south divide in wealth and living standards, poor infrastructure, inferior health and social care as well as a low wage economy may well have been responsible for the Brexit vote, but in reality Britain’s issues are home grown and not a result of membership of the EU.

Far too many of our companies and assets have been allowed to be sold off and are now in foreign ownership. Their owner’s first concern is only for their own national financial interests.

Our addiction to credit as well as the short-term and lack of inward investment by past Governments are the underlying causes of our weak economy, low productivity and massive national debt.

If membership of the EU is such a bad idea, then how is it that Germany, a far bigger contributor to the EU budget than the UK, is also the most prosperous country in all the EU and has the greatest budget surplus?

Clearly Germany has managed its economy well, whereas British Governments and Establishment have run our economy badly. In order; Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Austria all outperform the UK in terms of GDP per hour worked. Ireland produces £67 GDP per hour worked compared with £40 GDP per hour worked in the UK, which ranks 15th in the world productivity table.

Membership of the EU has absolutely nothing to do with freedom to trade and consequent national economic performance.

Membership of the EU provides preferential trading, which is now being discarded, so the UK can expect increases in the prices of many imported goods from the EU in the future.

In the event of a deal the effect of WTO tariffs on EU goods after Brexit will cause increases in household bills of up to £500 per year and in the event of a no deal the increased costs of Brexit could add an extra £930 to annual shopping bills.

In spite of the weak pound, which should be helping our exports, the UK racked up the biggest deficit of £12.7 billion for trade in goods for nine months to June 2017. In the last three months, exports of goods to non-EU countries decreased by £4.0 billion, while exports of goods to the EU increased by £1.7 billion.

Why is UK trade with the world outside the EU falling when it should be rising as the Brexiteers promised? It is becoming clear that Brexit is accelerating our economic decline, but the Brexiteers consider it a price worth paying to achieve their mystical objectives. Unless taxes rise, Government funding of health care, care for the elderly, local services, pensions and our national infrastructure will reduce because of the state of the UK’s finances now made worse by Brexit.

Day by day, Brexit is making us poorer.