The North West economy will take a £20 billion hit if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.
That is the stark warning from Britain’s biggest business group the CBI.
Figures from the CBI reveal how the North West could be among the regions most exposed to the economic fallout from leaving the EU without a deal with an estimated annual loss of output worth £20 billion by 2034.
Manufacturing activity is particularly important to the North West, and the automotive sector is likely to be severely impacted as it is particularly exposed to the risk of higher tariffs and trade costs.
With 49 per cent of the North West’s goods exports going to the EU, any increased trade friction, added costs or delays would hit the region particularly hard.
Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy-Director General, said: “Businesses are desperate to move beyond Brexit. They have huge belief in the UK and getting a deal will open many doors that have been closed by uncertainty.
“There is a fresh opportunity to show a new spirit of pragmatism and flexibility. Both sides are underprepared, so it’s in all our interests.
“It cannot be beyond the wit of the continent’s greatest negotiators to find a way through.”
“But until this becomes a reality, all must prepare to leave without one. It’s time to review outdated technical notices; launch an ambitious communications campaign for every firm in the country and rigorously test all Government plans and IT systems.”
CBI North West Regional Director Damian Waters said: “Neither the North West, the UK nor the EU are prepared for a no deal Brexit. In the UK, outdated technical notices need urgent review.
An ambitious communications campaign to reach every firm in the region must be launched. The invisible effect of severing services trade overnight would have a damaging impact on businesses all across the North West.”