So now we can begin to piece together the Hard-Brexit jigsaw, namely immigration controls but no single market access. Nissan, the Northeast’s flagship company, will be given “support and assurances” to stop it leaving our sunlit uplands. Put bluntly, this means some form of subsidy to protect its profits, a blank cheque from British taxpayers to Nissan shareholders, a bribe in all but name. The three Brexiteers must have pulled out all the stops to persuade Nissan to stay.
Ah, but what about the £10bn net contribution we’ll save when we exit the EU? Surely all that lovely wonga will cover the cost? Yes, but this was supposed to go to the NHS. And what about other UK car manufacturers like Vauxhall queuing up for the same largesse, not to mention the steel and chemical industries? Service sectors like finance might also want a similar deal if their passporting rights head down the Swanee.
The losers will be small and medium size enterprises outside the charmed circle of companies deemed too big to fail, and if they rely on imported materials they’ll feel the squeeze even more because of the fall in the value of the pound.
It’s ironic that Sunderland, home to Nissan, voted emphatically for Brexit. In the event, the city is okay, ring-fenced from the Brexit fallout. But what about the rest of the UK? How will SMEs, struggling to stay afloat, react? Fasten your seatbelts folks, the UK economy is in for a bumpy ride.