With wages rising rapidly and non-EU trade accelerating, the predictions of Project Fear have proven to be wildly over-blown
People’s Vote marches. All-night sittings over obscure amendments in the House of Commons. The Supreme Court over-turning government decisions, snap elections, warnings of the closure of the car factories, long lectures on cherry-picking from Michel Barnier, and scare stories about shortages of lettuce.
It is amazing how time flies when you are having fun. It may seem like only yesterday that the UK voted by a narrow margin to leave the European Union. In fact, it was five years ago on Wednesday.
We only finally left, in the sense of severing control from Brussels, at the start of this year. And yet, in truth, Brexit has already transformed the British economy. Like how?
We are witnessing a shift back to our historic trading patterns; wages are starting to accelerate upwards; our industrial base is changing; and we are finally creating a regulatory regime that works for the UK.
Wage growth has spiked
We can all argue - and no doubt will - about whether that is for better or worse. Yet there can be no question the country is now set on a very different path.
Rewind five years, to the morning after a vote that took almost everyone by surprise, and the consensus was that the British had committed economic suicide. The pound dropped by the most on record, at one point getting close to parity with the euro and even the dollar.
Investors fled from the London market.
A new Prime Minister was desperately searching around for some kind of strategy for leaving the EU, and business was attempting to work out how it could cope with our departure. As we now know, the predictions of Project Fear turned out to be wildly over-blown.
House prices haven’t collapsed, unemployment hasn’t soared, and although some jobs have been lost, factories have not relocated wholesale to France and Spain, nor has the City decamped en masse for Frankfurt and Paris even if Amsterdam has picked up some trading business.
And yet, even though we only really left in January as the transition period ended, our departure has already started to slowly transform the British economy. Here are the four most significant changes.
· First, a historic shift in trading patterns
· Next, wages are rising.
· Third, we are changing our industrial base.
Finally, it is taking a long time, and happening very slowly, but we are creating regulatory regimes that work for the UK.
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