ITV News: Analysis shows Brexit caused £12 billion of lost trade in October

10 December 2021

The Centre for European Reform (CER) has modelled the trading performance of a UK that did not leave the EU, using trade data from countries - like the US, Germany, Greece, New Zealand and Sweden - whose performance was similar to the UK’s before Brexit. 

It then compared this “doppelgänger” with the actual performance of UK imports and exports since January. 

The CER used the latest trade data, published this morning by the Office for National Statistics, to calculate that leaving the Single Market and Customs Union reduced trade in goods in October by 15.7% or £12.6 billion.

That’s a big hit. 

Trade data is volatile and is frequently revised. The pandemic delivered a huge shock to UK and global trade but the deputy director of the CER, John Springford, says he’s “pretty confident” that Brexit is to blame for the slump. 

“We know that goods trade across advanced economies is now higher than it was before the pandemic, apart from in the UK and a couple of other countries who have got some other problems,” he told ITV News.

“So, we’re pretty sure it's not down to the pandemic that the UK is a long way behind other countries.”

The government acknowledged there would be “teething problems” when the transition ended.

Springford says his model suggests a “permanent gap” in goods trade has opened up.

The CER’s analysis attempts to isolate the impact of Brexit on our trade in goods, not on the economy as a whole.

It is an estimate but it’s broadly in line with the impact on trade that the government’s own forecaster assumes Brexit is causing.