Report finds even a soft Brexit would take £700million from Welsh economy

PUBLISHED: 11:47 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:13 16 May 2019

L-R: Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price in Whitehall, Nigel Farage being interviewed by BBC correspondent Arwyn Jones. Pictures: Victoria Jones/PA Wire / BBC

L-R: Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price in Whitehall, Nigel Farage being interviewed by BBC correspondent Arwyn Jones. Pictures: Victoria Jones/PA Wire / BBC

Victoria Jones/PA Wire / BBC

A soft Brexit would put 14,000 Welsh jobs at risk, and would drain £700million from the Welsh economy, a new report has found.

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It also found that a hard or no-deal Brexit would risk 25,000 job, and would take £1.25billion from the Welsh economy.

The findings were made by accountants Grant Thornton for the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).

Jobs in many Welsh sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, and food and drink rely on our membership of the EU include.

Plaid Cymru, which supports remaining in the EU, said any of these Brexit scenarios would be a "huge hit" to the Welsh economy.

During a Brexit Party visit to Merthyr Tydfil, BBC correspondent Arwyn Jones asked Nigel Farage what Brexit could offer Wales, which is a net beneficiary from the EU "to the tune of £250 million a year".

"Well if you're right about that, why aren't people better off?" asked Farage, citing the steel industry as one in decline during the UK's membership of the EU.

Farage said we would have "control" over the steel and fishing industries after Brexit.

Also addressing the impact of Brexit on the Welsh economy at first minister's questions, party leader Adam Price challenged Welsh first minister, Labour's Mark Drakeford, to publish a study the government had commissioned into capacity in the cold storage sector, and to invest in the sector to avoid job losses.

Cold storage company Wild Water, which operates two of Wales' three facilities, has urged the Labour Welsh government to invest in a new facility because of the pressure Brexit has put on the sector.

Meat company Kepak, which employs 700 people at the St Merryn meat plant in Merthyr Tydfil, said that without investment in Welsh cold storage capacity the company would have to transfer some production to Cornwall - potentially threatening jobs.

Price said he had received a number of letters from food companies calling for greater investment.

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Plaid Cymru's shadow minister for economy and finance Rhun ap Iorwerth AM called for a People's Vote and said: "Brexit is a huge threat to Wales, our economy, our communities, and our jobs.

"The truth is that the EU has done its bit for Wales with millions of pounds of investment in our communities over many years. It's Westminster that has let us down."

He added that, in his view, Plaid Cymru is the only anti-Brexit party that can win Welsh MEP seats in the upcoming EU elections.

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