Like it or not, Brexit will happen – unless something dramatic happens to the nation’s mood in the next couple of years. But when you look at the can of worms we will open in the post-Brexit world, it’s hard not to get a case of the heebie-jeebies.
Fierce supporters of the process will not care a jot, of course, but for those on the other side – and possibly those whose opinions lie somewhere in the middle – the problems are looming large. With this in mind, here are a few of the major problems that Britain could – and in some cases will – be about to face.
While the UK has experienced a small amount of growth since the financial crisis of 2008, it is important to understand that a lot of that growth has stemmed from immigrant workers. Many economists know this to be fact, yet it’s not something that you will hear from ardent Brexit supporters, who seem to push the line of ‘less immigration at all costs.’ Well, that cost might well be a great one. A decline in immigration could lead to a labour shortage, which will reduce an already-poor level of productivity. And ultimately, that’s going to cost the economy.
Justice and crime
When you consider Brexit and the criminal justice system, there is a lot more going on than meets the average person’s eye. The European Arrest Warrant, the speed of extraditions, pan-European crime intelligence – it all needs to be discussed. And given that UK law is so entrenched with European law at the moment, unpicking the seams is going to be a logistical nightmare that could take decades rather than years.
The government is keen to point out that global companies are still keen to invest in the UK. But will they be quite so interested in a couple of years time? No one can answer that question until we know about the deal between the UK and the EU. But all the waiting and guessing games mean a lot of uncertainty. The nature of the deal is not the only issue, however. Most economists agree that Britain will be seen as a risk, which means a drop in business and consumer confidence. And that, in turn, will lead to more delays in investment decisions, and so the vicious circle will go on.
The entire world seems to have taken an insular and protection route in the past twelve months – we are in a very different place now. Trump is signalling for the drawbridge to go up in America, in more ways than just immigration. And Brexit is, quite possibly, the first domino to fall in an increasingly weak Europe. It all makes the idea of striking various favourable trade deals a lot more complicated – for the moment, at least.
The housing market
Another strength of the UK economy in the past few years has been the price of houses. But could Brexit spell serious financial worries for homeowners? It’s a bubble that has been threatening to burst – yet again – for some time now, and the split from the EU could be the pin many people have been fearing.