THERESA MAY was dealt a Brexit blow last night after it was revealed that the Government will accept the official leave date drawn up by Michel Barnier, Whitehall sources, as cited by The Mirror, stated that the EU timetable was the “working assumption” and that “no one seems too upset by that”. The timetable states that the UK would officially leave the EU, after the transition period, on New Year’s Eve 2020.

This would mean that the UK has 3 months less than previously thought to agree substantial amounts of trade agreements with the EU and across the globe before we hurtle off the cliff, headed by a department that has been officially described as “not fit for purpose”.

Brexit means...?

The difficulties of Brexit have been significantly underlined and the UK’s ability to deal with the coming issues is lacklustre at best. 3 months less than previously assumed also adds to the mounting pressure, especially as preparations have deemed a risk of becoming “damaging and unmanageable muddle” unless the government increases its efforts to prepare substantially. The influential Commons committee, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have said that Whitehall has been “too slow” and “lacks a credible plan”.

Should the government does choose to accept the timetable set by Barnier, it gives them less time for negotiations during the transitional period, increasing the pressure for quick deals that puts UK public assets at risk to being opened for foreign investors and businesses, for example Theresa May has refused to rule out that the NHS won’t be part of negotiations that could leave it open to US health firms.

Furthermore, Theresa May has categorically said that the UK will leave the customs union after Brexit. This came after she had held a working lunch with Michel Barnier but after he had a meeting with David Davis, Barnier said that trade barriers would be unavoidable if May decides to go ahead with the plan to leave the customs union.

Any form of trade barrier would be seriously detrimental to the UK and this was highlighted after the well publicised reports into the affects to different parts of the UK by Brexit.

The North-east would come off worse with no sense of irony after it overwhelmingly voted to leave, with London fairing significantly better. There would be an 11 per cent decrease in economic growth with the government’s preferred outcome of a Free Trade Deal with the EU but leaving with no deal would cause a 16 per cent hit in the North-east, staying in the single market would cause a 3 per cent drop.

The West Midlands would see a 8 per cent decline with a freelancer trade deal, under a no deal it would be hit 13 per cent and just 2.5 per cent if the UK remained in the single market.

Northern Ireland, who voted to remain and historically shouldn’t even be part of the UK or in my personal opinion exist, would see 8 per cent drop with a free trade deal, 12 per cent with a no deal and 2.5 with the single market. London, who fair significantly better, would see just a 2 per cent decline in growth with a free trade deal, 3.5 per cent with no deal and 1 per cent if the UK remains in the single market.