It’s been two years since former Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed his Brexit trade deal and triumphantly declared that Britain would be “prosperous, dynamic and contented” after completing its exit from the European Union.
The Brexit deal would enable UK companies to “do even more business” with the European Union, according to Johnson, and would leave Britain free to strike trade deals around the world while continuing to export seamlessly to the EU market of 450 million consumers.
In reality, Brexit has hobbled the UK economy, which remains the only member of the G7 — the group of advanced economies that also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — with an economy smaller than it was before the pandemic.
Years of uncertainty over the future trading relationship with the European Union, Britain’s largest trading partner, have damaged business investment, which in the third quarter was 8% below pre-pandemic levels despite a UK-EU trade deal being in place for nearly two years.
And the pound has taken a beating, making imports more expensive and stoking inflation while failing to boost exports, even as other parts of the world have enjoyed a post-pandemic trade boom.
Brexit has erected trade barriers for UK businesses and foreign companies that used Britain as a European base. It’s weighing on imports and exports, sapping investment and contributing to labor shortages. All this has exacerbated Britain’s inflation problem, hurting workers and the business community.