Workers' wages deferred and exports sink, the real life implications of Brexit

PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 24 May 2019

Workers are being hit by Brexit with exports also falling. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Workers are being hit by Brexit with exports also falling. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Manufacturing workers' wages are being deferred and frozen as Brexit uncertainty is set to continue until the autumn, a study suggests.

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The number of settlements being delayed is also on the increase, according to the latest data from manufacturers' organisation Make UK.

A survey of almost 100 companies indicated that 10% of settlements have been deferred, "significantly" higher than a year ago.

Where a deal was agreed, the average was 2.6% up slightly from 2.5% at the start of the year.

Seamus Nevin, chief economist at Make UK, said: "These figures highlight the very real world consequences for companies and their employees of the ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

"Whilst there are a number of factors at play, the slowdown in major economies amongst them, it is no coincidence of timing that we have seen pay negotiations impacted since the end of March.

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"So long as there is a failure to end political uncertainty, the impact on people's livelihoods will continue to be felt in constituencies across the UK."

It comes as exports fall across the country with firms highlighting the same issues.

More than one in five of 3,400 firms surveyed by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL said their export order books declined in the first quarter of the year, the highest since 2017.

Firms said they were concerned about exchange rates and the cost of raw materials.

Hannah Essex, of the BCC, said: "It's been a trying time for many exporters with uncertainty in the run-up to the Brexit deadlines and continued trade tensions combining to flatten orders and confidence.

"The future relationship with Europe remains unresolved, but so too do the future terms of trade with many other important trading partners.

"Until the status of free trade agreements with third countries are clarified, UK firms don't know how their operations in all corners of the world will be affected when the UK leaves the EU in any transition period and beyond.

"Leaving firms in limbo and allowing the political dramas to play out again at the last minute in October will only serve to diminish sales and confidence further."

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