NI to be 'one of hardest hit regions' after Brexit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the North’s former First Minister Arlene Foster

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the North’s former First Minister Arlene Foster

London will take the least damage, according to the controversial forecasts which ministers were forced to release after they were leaked to the media and amid pressure from Labour and pro-EU Tories.

MPs have now been able to to view the documents in the House of Commons library.

The UK as a whole is predicted to have 8 per cent lower GDP with no deal, 5 per cent lower if the UK negotiated a free trade deal, and 2 per cent lower if it remains aligned with the rules of the European Union single market. As the poorest English region, the North East was inevitably going to be more vulnerable to the economic upheaval of leaving the EU.

In the West Midlands, a free trade deal would result in an 8 per cent hit to growth, compared with 13 per cent under no deal, and 2.5 per cent if the United Kingdom stays in the single market.

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The series of measures are among those envisaged by Department of Health (DoH) officials at the latest meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health held to consider the implications of Brexit on the health sector. This probably reflects the fact that the support for Brexit probably was rooted less in disaffection with the European Union per se, but general economic stress with concomitant shortfalls in public services that was conveniently vented in the direction of the EU.

A land bridge to ferry sealed containers of medicines through Britain; maintenance of 30 Service Level Agreements with Northern Ireland; dual language packaging on medications; blue lights at the Border for the ambulance services; greater links to bio-banking and clinical research facilities and dual language packaging of medicines are the future for the Irish health services envisaged after Brexit.

However, Stephen Doughty, a Labour MP, told the campaign group Open Britain: "It is utterly shameful that people all across this country are having to rely on leaks to find out how much damage a hard, destructive Brexit will do to their local economies and the country as a whole".

"With each passing day, and with each British Government Brexit blunder, the case for designated special status continues to strengthen".

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"It is important to remember Northern Ireland is already starting in a worse economic position than other regions due to our legacy of division and violence", he said.

"This should be taken as a major reality check for the UK Government".

Anna Soubry, MP for Broxtowe, and one of the most prominent opponents of a "no-deal" Brexit said via twitter: "So at its best Brexit will cut growth, jobs and prosperity for everyone in Broxtowe".

"It shows the risks the Government are taking through their current brinkmanship and allowing hardline Brexiteers in the Conservative Party and DUP to set the agenda". The Tories are putting everything on the line because they do not care about the lives and livelihoods of the people of the North East.

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