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Black Friday

A Sad Day for Britain

Terrible news for the UK today as 51.9% of the population vote to leave the EU.

I sincerely hope I'll be proven wrong, but as just about every economist and policy adviser in the world warned us about the consequences, the future looks bleak. Here's John Oliver putting those warnings in layman's terms:

In Torfaen alone we'll be saying goodbye to money from the -

European Social Fund, e.g. Working Skills for Adults, Bridges into Work, Inspire to Achieve, and Inspire to Work - all of which rely heavily on ESF funding.

European Regional Development Fund, e.g. we used this to part fund projects like the refurb of Pontypool Indoor Market, and the wider improvement works over the last few years in Pontypool and the surrounding area.

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, e.g. the restoration of Llanyrafon Manor was largely funded from this pot.

Direct Payments to Farmers, i.e. Welsh government's method of distributing the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) money, which makes up over 75% of all farm income in Wales.

Because, overall Wales currently gets a guaranteed £500m per annum from the EU, and we then bid for other monies, like the £1.8 billion for the 2014-2020 ESF (European Structural Funds) for the East Wales and West Wales and Valleys Programmes. As our net benefit from the EU is much larger than what we pay in, going forward we're going to be very reliant on a Westminster government giving us that same level of funding.

On top of that, of course, we're going to be saying hello to unemployment, with EU funded posts obviously coming to an end, and the knock on effects for businesses which rely heavily on EU trade. Some foreign investment will be deterred - big employers like Airbus have already said they'll be monitoring negotiations closely and, should we not secure a good trade deal with the EU (and let's face it, why on earth should the EU give us any favours now?), may be forced to relocate. Tata Steel told its workforce last week that the EU market was 'fundamental to our business' - Brexit might help their pension liabilities (not such great news if it's your pension, but hey ho), but hopes for salvaging the Porth Talbot plant are looking ever more dismal.

We've already seen massive instability to the pound today - and it will continue jostling over the coming years as we negotiate our way out of the EU. This isn't just something which matters to your weekly food shop or whatever (you probably won't really see this until we're out completely and usual imports become more costly), it will also be fed in to things like council tax (including service precepts) and utility bill rises (sadly, you can expect to see this in the forthcoming budget round) as it becomes harder to predict the value of investment portfolios and secure match funding.

(For more on Brexit impact on Welsh public services, there is a good paper linked here.)

As for immigration, the curtailing of which is going to magically solve all our ills - around 3,000 people (about 4% of the population) in Torfaen were not born in the UK. Under 2% of those were born in another EU country, so around 1,300 people could be EU migrants. 6.2% of the working age population in the borough is unemployed - so, disregarding the fact that many immigrants are actually employers, even if everybody who wasn't born in the UK (and of course, some of those will hold full or joint UK citizenship) in Torfaen was of working age and in employment (which we know they're not), there still wouldn't be enough work to go around right at this moment...

On the plus side, we shouldn't be hearing many complaints if these things do come to pass - people will be getting what they asked for. /s


  1. Thank you - this is just the information people had no idea about when they put a cross in the box to leave the UK. I have just blogged about some of the environmental consequences of leaving the UK. Sad and worrying times lay ahead I fear :(

    1. It's just the uncertainty more than anything - now it's done I just want them to get on with it and start negotiating which bits we'll be keeping. x


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