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Brexit has cost UK economy almost £16bn in trade since 2016, report finds

Picture of the EU and Union flags. The Centre for European Reform (CER) estimates that leaving the single market and customs union at the end of 2020 has reduced UK trade by £7.7billion, or 11%, since March - Credit: PA

Brexit has cost the UK economy £16billion in trade since 2016, experts have said.

The Centre for European Reform (CER) estimates that leaving the single market and customs union at the end of 2020 has reduced UK trade by £7.7billion, or 11%, since March.



Another £8billion – or 10% – has been wiped from the UK economy since the June 2016 referendum and quitting the single market.

The think tank’s analysis is based on creating a “doppelgänger” for the UK trade in goods using data from a group of other similar countries to estimate what would have happened if Britain had stayed in the single market this year – and then comparing that to what has actually happened.

It does not believe coronavirus has significantly affected its model as goods trade in advanced economies has largely recovered to pre-pandemic levels this year.

Last month, the CER estimated the trade blow up to February had been £11.5billion.

John Springford, CER’s deputy director, said: “There are two reasons why our estimate worsened between February and March.

“Trade growth in the countries that make up our ‘doppelgänger’ UK outstripped Britain’s, widening the gap with our modelled economy that stayed within the single market and customs union.

“The ONS has also revised February’s trade data downwards.”

He added: “It is important to remember that monthly trade data is volatile, so it will take several more months to be certain about the effect of Brexit on the level of UK goods trade, but it is becoming clearer that the impact cannot be dismissed as temporary.”