Exiting the EU and Britain After Brexit

On 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, and on 31 January 2020 the UK became the first (and so far only) member state to have left the EU. Brexit became a reality. In the period between Prime Minister David Cameron announcing the referendum, the referendum and then the subsequent withdrawal negotiations and transition period, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research examined the economic and social implications of this momentous decision.

Our selection of op-eds, videos and podcasts highlighting the issues facing the UK after the EU referendum.

The Independent, 8th December 2019

“With days to go until the most important election for our economy in living memory, voters will be going to the polling stations with blindfolds on. Fiscal policy — the decisions on taxation and public spending that determine how much the government borrows – is in disarray. The government had already shifted the date of the budget from spring to autumn and now Boris Johnson has promised a “Brexit budget” in February if the Conservatives stay in power. Government departments are working with a one-year spending plan, rather than the three-year version that was promised. Because they can’t make long-term plans, they will struggle to deliver the improvements in services such as health, education and policing that voters are demanding” Read more:

Prospect, 4th December 2019

“The UK minimum wage has been a great success story since its introduction in 1999. Twenty years on, it is at risk of becoming overly politicised in a growing arms race between the two main parties, both eager to claim the credit for boosting the earnings of millions of low-paid workers across Britain….” Read more:

LSE blog, 6th December 2019

“The fiscal framework adopted in 2010 built on the success of the experience with monetary policy. The basic mechanism, which was replicated to a great degree in the fiscal case, is that a macroeconomic target that suits society is pursued transparently with the support of independent forecasts of whether the target will be achieved. The target and instrument are bound together by a rule that explains how the instrument will respond to the state of the economy. The advantage of rules-based policies is that other participants in the economy can formulate their plans in a manner consistent with the target and if the policy-maker is going to miss the target, there is scope to explain why and how the economy will get back on track. By binding people into a common path of adjustment, it simply becomes easier to meet the target, which should be exactly what society wants anyway.  While monetary policy has more or less been bound by such a framework, our fiscal policy is more or less in disarray.” Read more:

The Independent, 17th November 2019

“As the director of an economic think tank based just metres from parliament, I am aware that I can become overly immersed in the statistics and theories that underpin my analysis of Brexit. The same thing was on my mind when I stepped out of the offices of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research last Friday afternoon to catch the last rays of the sun as they caught the Baroque roof of St John’s church on Smith Square…” Read more:​


Anti-immigration sentiments played an important role in the UK’s vote to leave the EU. This video was produced as part of a project on aimed at understanding how people process evidence about the impact of immigration and was shown at 12 focus groups in Kent in April 2018. The aim of the research is to identify more effective forms of communication that enable people to consider evidence in formulating their opinions on immigration. The findings will be published in Autumn 2018.

This conference was designed to coincide with the UK triggering Article 50 and starting its process to withdraw from the EU. Our aim was to look in greater detail and some of the critical issues that will follow. These include what UK Free Trade Agreements might contain and what will be the negotiating priorities, the economic consequences of no longer being within the legal boundary of the European Court of Justice and what the industrial policy should look like. We closed with a panel session on how economists can most effectively communicate with the public over this period.

Watch Dr. Angus Armstrong the Head of Macroeconomics at The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) explain Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) commissioned research on immigration and the State Pension with regards the EU Referendum outcome.

The Missing Debate in the IN/OUT Referendum is the difference between a Single Market and the suggested alternative a Free Trade Agreement. It turns out this matters for the people of the UK – a lot. A Free Trade Agreement doesn’t fully cover services – and services account for 8 out of every 10 jobs in the UK.


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