All economic calculations are fraught with difficulty, but the impact of Brexit on the UK and European economies is at the outer limits of confusion. So let’s get the problems out of the way.
First, we don’t know the counterfactual, what would have happened had the UK not held the referendum on leaving or had it gone the other way. Next, because it has been so contentious, much of the analysis has been shaped, consciously or otherwise, by the political views of the people doing the work.
Then there has been the pandemic, which has distorted everything on a vastly larger scale than changes to the trade relations between the UK and the EU. There is the war in Ukraine, the full impact of which is still to feed through the world economy. And finally, in all economic relations there is always a tension between the short term and the long term: what appears to be initially positive may be negative after a few years, and vice versa.
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