The latest Ipsos issues index from April reveals the cost of living was top of the list of most important issues facing Britons, as the highest score was recorded for any issue since August 1990. Research also suggests those across the ideological divide both agree the cost of living is higher as a result of the UK leaving the European Union. However, economist Julian Jessop told Express.co.uk while Brexit has an impact, this has been “dwarfed” by other global issues causing the crisis.
He said: “I think Brexit probably has had an impact – there’s the increased friction to trade, so it’s more costly to import things, and it has possibly accounted for labour shortages.
“There’s also the general uncertainty created by Brexit, which is arguably bad for investment.
“But the effects of these appear to be pretty small, and it’s hard to find any significant effects in the data.
“The more important point is that any upward pressure from Brexit on prices has been more than dwarfed by everything else that’s going on.
“There’s a massive surge in global food and energy prices, and the disruption in the supply chains from Covid.
“These are things that really drive inflation.”
Polling conducted by Redfield and Wilton on behalf of UK in a Changing Europe showed many people continue to identify politically with how they voted in 2016, with around two-thirds of the public saying they identify as either a Leaver or a Remainer.
Those who voted Remain, are more likely to think things are worse (or the same) across issues including the NHS, wages, the economy and Britain’s influence in the world and those who voted Leave are more likely to think things are better (or the same).
Among groups of voters, a clear majority believe that the cost of living is higher as a result of the United Kingdom being outside the EU, with 78 percent of remainers taking this view, and 57 percent of leavers.
Research conducted by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and published by UK in a Changing Europe estimates that the increase in UK-EU trade barriers since the implementation of the TCA had raised food prices in the UK by 6 per cent by September 2021.
Chairman of conservative think tank the Bow Group Benjamin Harris-Quinney refuted the idea of a negative Brexit impact, telling Express.co.uk: “Every Western economy is facing economic challenges, and many EU nations are in a worse position than the UK.
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“The EU official inflation rate is 7.8 percent compared to the UK’s of 7 percent – the true rate is likely far higher, but this applies in both cases.”
Mr Jessop concurred with Mr Harris-Quinney’s perspective, as he said: “When you compare different countries the biggest factor is certainly not Brexit.
“Plenty of countries in Europe are taking the same approach as us, using the tax and benefit system to try to offset the crisis – and in many of those countries, like Belgium and the Netherlands, inflation rates are even higher.
“There is most likely a Brexit effect somewhere in there, but it is small, hard to measure and being completely dominated.”
Mr Harris-Quinney argued Brexit will actually help the UK deal with the cost of living crisis.
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He added: “The greater flexibility that being out of the EU gives us means, if the government is able to push through a genuine reform agenda, we should have far more tools to deal with economic crisis.
“We need to adopt radical new economic measures and free ourselves from remaining EU adjunct bodies like the ECHR to engender a new direction, in the same way Thatcher did in the 80s.”
He said, however, that Boris’ government was failing to capitalise on the benefits of Brexit.
He added: “If the priorities of Brexit voters are enacted then Britain is likely to reform into being a much greater country economically and socially, but so far the government is going in the opposite direction and making a mess of it, hence the resignation of figures like Lord Frost.