Vivian Garcia |
London (EFE).- Three years after Brexit became official, the United Kingdom is a polarized country, with economic growth problems, a lack of labor and an increasingly demoralized working class, although British politicians rule out returning to the European Union (EU), at least in the short term.
The United Kingdom left the European bloc on January 31, 2020, after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson won the general election in December 2019. The country then entered a transition period that ended on January 1, 2021. .
Although this anniversary goes unnoticed by the British, the country is in crisis due to inflation reaching levels not seen in 40 years -10.5%-, there is a lack of workers in many sectors, such as health and social care, and the Government « tory »chains scandals while the cost of living strangles the finances of many families.
Strikes, lack of personnel and precarious working conditions
This situation has been aggravated by the wave of strikes that many sectors have been supporting -railway workers, nurses, ambulance service employees, teachers, etc- due to the increase in inflation and the precarious working conditions in the public sector, due to the lack of staff.
The Rishi Sunak Executive defends that the crisis responds above all to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, but experts have linked the current problems to the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU and the trade agreement with the European Union.
According to the British think tank Center for European Reform (CER), the British economy was 5.5% smaller in 2022 than it would have been if the country remained in the EU.
In addition, more than three quarters of British companies (77%) admit that Brexit has not helped them to expand their business in recent years despite promises that it would help them, according to a survey by the Chambers of British Trade (BCC).
According to this analysis, which was carried out among 1,168 medium and small companies, more than half (56%) of the firms face difficulties adapting to the new rules for the trade of goods and almost half (45%) have problems to deal with the new rules for trade in services.
A similar number of companies (44%) have difficulties obtaining visas for staff, according to the BCC.
consensus among economists
Tim Bale, a prestigious professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London, told EFE that it is very difficult to find an economist who thinks that Brexit has been advantageous.
“Growth is lower than it should be and therefore so are tax revenues, meaning UK public services are falling apart further and faster than even the pessimists predicted,” added.
The exit from the EU also divided the country, although this gap diminishes as social discontent on other issues increases.
“Brexit polarized the country and while some of that polarization is starting to fade, it’s still an important factor in which party and which policies people support,” Bale added.
The professor of European Politics at the London School of Economics (LSE) Kevin Featherstone told EFE that “Brexit created an unprecedented division in political identities that transcends traditional party loyalties.”
Faced with this situation, some Britons do not rule out returning to the EU in the future, although Featherstone considered that this will remain off the political agenda for at least 10 years.
The British Labor Party, favorite to win the next elections (no later than January 2025), has already ruled out returning to the EU, the single market and the customs union.
The expert Matthew Goodwin, from the English University of Kent, stressed to EFE that in these three years there is some evidence that the British have become more negative about Brexit.
“But we must also counter this with the fact that for many voters, Brexit was never just about the economy, but also about restoring national sovereignty, accountability and transparency,” Goodwin added.