Since 2016, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union was approved with 51.9% of the votes. In 2017, the European Union treaty was invoked to initiate a process that was supposed to conclude in 2019 but concluded in 2020. Today we will talk about the importance of the times of Brexit and how is the current situation of the United Kingdom, after it. We will know the successes and failures of a policy that perhaps came at a bad time to be implemented. Today we will know how the situation in the United Kingdom fared after Brexit.
Already in September 2019, in gustavomirabal.es some of the effects that Brexit would have been warned in the article “Actualidad Jurídica #2 – Brexit y el trabajo precario” (available also in English in “¿Are you ready for Brexit? – Legal News #1”). Some of the possible effects were:
- Congestion and increased bureaucracy at borders for the passage of goods and people, as well as increased costs. This affects costs both for tariffs and for times derived from bureaucratic procedures.
- Tension at the UK-Ireland border. Let us remember that this border has a history of conflict between those who wished to remain loyal to the crown and the part of Ireland that wanted total independence.
- Increase in social conflicts due to protests for or against Brexit.
However, the tension at the border and the increase in social conflicts have not been tempered by the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And it is that indeed the measure of Brexit almost simultaneously with the coronavirus nuanced some of its risks. But, in the same way that some risks decreased, others increased until they became visible.
But let’s take a closer look at the Brexit and Covid-19 timeline.
Brexit, Covid-19 and the situation in the United Kingdom.
Brexit took place only a month before the Covid-19 pandemic condition was formalized. On February 1, 2020, the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union is finalized and on March 11, 2020, the character of the Covid-19 pandemic is formalized.
This means that the first two years of Brexit have also been marked by the Coronavirus pandemic. While it is true that border controls increased, the reality is that this did not have a major impact on the United Kingdom, a country that is among the hardest hit by Covid-19. The UK is in seventh place in number of COVID-19 deaths per country throughout the pandemic by 25 March 2022. It is one of the countries with the highest rate of deaths per million inhabitants.
This has affected its economy both because of the expenditure on medicine and the refusal of many people to return to the labor field. In addition, Brexit closed the doors to many people to work in the United Kingdom who really belonged to other countries of the European Union. This has created a labor crisis not because of the lack of work, but because of the lack of workers.
The lack of workers is driving the closure of some operations and the rise in the cost of human resources. Workers refuse to work in unsafe conditions, and those who decide to return to work do so by betting on better conditions. In these cases, the workers are choosing between several work proposals, as an auction.
But this is not the only obstacle that Brexit has achieved and that has harmed the situation in the United Kingdom.
Freight transport and borders after Brexit
One of the most pressing aspects that has also affected inflation in the European country has been the transport of goods. Much of the UK’s goods come from the rest of Europe. Among the UK’s strengths are financial services and intellectual property. With this, their strategic vulnerability in closing the borders, or at least hindering their passage, was more than evident.
To this we can add the Covid-19 effect, with which many countries closed borders to avoid transnational infections. Although they were not 100% avoided, this caused an undesirable effect on the shelves of UK retailers, shortages.
And scarcity is a rapid driver of inflation. With this, the English have been overwhelmed by lack of personnel and inflation thanks to the confluence of Brexit and Covid-19. But it is not only due to the passage of goods and the closure of borders… Also, the essential personnel to move the goods it is difficult to enter the United Kingdom, we mean the truckers.
Carriers and the transport sector have suffered a severe setback, with restrictions on foreign work. There are not enough Englishmen who wish to do the work of transporter and truck driver. Its labor sector is nourished by immigrants from all over Europe. When Brexit was carried out, they closed the door to the workforce that put the products on their shelves, and with it they reinforced the inflationary effect. The objectives of Brexit were sabotaged by its implementation and by Covid-19.
This has created a breeding ground that calls into question the politics of Brexit in the midst of the pandemic. It is true that its approval preceded Covid-19, but it is important that the application of economic measures considers the environment.
The UK removes most of the restrictions associated with Covid-19
The relative success of the UK’s vaccination plan has prompted it to release the restrictions associated with Covid-19. Still people entering and leaving the country will have to be tested, but there will be no mandatory quarantine in case of coronavirus.
In addition, antigen testing will no longer be free. They will only be free in case there are symptoms or that they are elderly people. With this, the United Kingdom will begin to return to normal when it comes to Covid.
Challenges remain, but the UK economy is beginning to revitalize rapidly. The risk it runs is of an overheating of the economy and a lack of post-covid manpower.
In 2021 the UK economy grew by 7.5%. This shows the opportunities that the country has to grow if it overcomes the current obstacles.
The current challenge is to circumvent the increase in energy that is hitting all countries due to the war between Russia and Ukraine. It is to be seen how Brexit offers opportunities compared to the rest of the European Union.