As the UK marks the third anniversary of Brexit, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has claimed that the benefits of leaving the European Union have been “empowering communities and businesses right across the country”. Sunak’s statement comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delivers a damning forecast for the UK’s economic growth this year, predicting that Britain will be the only G7 country to experience a contraction.
Despite the pessimistic outlook, Sunak has remained optimistic about the UK’s future outside of the EU, citing the “faster vaccine rollout”, “trade deals with over 70 countries” and “control of our borders” as successes of Brexit. He has also promised to continue with the government’s “five priorities”, including growing the economy and creating better paid jobs.
However, not everyone is convinced about the benefits of Brexit. A recent poll showed that 60% of Britons believe that leaving the EU was a mistake. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former business secretary, has also criticised the government’s handling of the Northern Ireland protocol bill, which has yet to be debated in the House of Lords.
Meanwhile, the BBC’s economics editor Faisal Islam has argued that while Brexit may be one reason for the IMF’s forecast, other factors such as the pandemic, lockdowns and a Russian energy shock are more significant contributors.
As the UK marks the third anniversary of its departure from the European Union, it remains to be seen whether the benefits of Brexit will outweigh the economic costs.