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No-Deal Brexit: a disaster for jobs, public services and the economy

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And it’s working people who’ll pay the heaviest price.
  • A no deal Brexit threatens rights, jobs, incomes and the essential services we rely upon.
  • It would also make it harder for future governments to reverse the damage caused by a decade of austerity.
  • That’s why the TUC supports every democratic means to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Crashing out of Europe without a deal would be disastrous for working people.

A no-deal Brexit risks years of uncertainty and wrangling over trade deals, an economic shock that will hit our public services hard, and rising food and fuel costs.

Major sectors of the economy will have to grapple with increased trading costs and regulations.

There’s a grave risk that our hard-won employment rights will be open to attack. And peace in Northern Ireland will be under threat from the likely return of a hard border.

We’ve consistently set out that we need a solution to the Brexit crisis which protects jobs, rights and peace. And that a bad Tory deal will put working people’s livelihoods at risk.

We also know it will be working people who pay the heaviest price in a no-deal scenario.

A no deal Brexit threatens rights, jobs, incomes and the essential services we rely upon.

It would also make it harder for future governments to reverse many of the deep-rooted inequalities entrenched by a decade of austerity.

That’s why we support every democratic means to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Job losses

Job losses are highly likely in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Both the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) have forecast an increase in unemployment, with a potential 200,000 job losses by 2021/22.

In the longer term, leaving without a deal or a transition period could lead to as many as 482,000 job losses by 2030.

No deal will also make it harder to create jobs. Analysis suggests that the uncertainty over the UKs future relationship with the EU has already affected investment and job creation.

There’s already been an explosion in the growth of precarious work such as zero-hours contracts in the UK labour market over recent years. Any further job losses will make it even harder for people to find decent, well-paid and secure jobs.


A no deal Brexit would put pressure on household incomes and wages.

The government’s own long-term economic analysis suggests that, in the event of no deal, real wages could fall by 10 per cent over 15 years. Real wages are still yet to recover to pre-financial crises levels, so this would be another serious blow to living standards.

The costs of many essentials such as food and fuel are likely to rise according to analysis, including in the government’s Operation Yellowhammer paper.

Household incomes could also fall, with the OECD estimating that households could see a reduction of between £3200 and £5000 in the event of a no deal (relative to other Brexit scenarios or our current position as a member).

Falling pay, reduced incomes and rising costs will hurt many people across the UK, but they will hit those already struggling to make ends meet the hardest, especially women and black and disabled households.

Workers’ rights

All of that would be hard enough, but workers may also have to cope with losing hard-won employment rights. Any government will be free to undo employment rights derived from EU law for generations to come.

Leaving without a deal would also mean that workers in the UK are not able to take challenges to the European Court. Vital judgements would no longer be binding for the UK, making it harder for workers to enforce their rights.


No deal could have serious consequences for many sectors of the UK and our public services.

Essential services such as health and social care would have to cope with the disruption of supply chains for vital medicines and equipment. They would likely face the loss of caring, qualified staff working on the front line, as well as financial pressures on budgets resulting from the significant economic shock of no deal.

No deal would affect many sectors. Services, agri-food, manufacturing (automotive, pharmaceutical, chemicals), science, tech and R&D could feel no deal deeply and quickly due to increased customs checks, tariffs and non-tariff barriers. In the longer term, many sectors would lose out on funding from the EU sources and information sharing.

No to no deal

The effects of a no-deal Brexit will not be felt evenly and the hardship caused will not be shared fairly.

For those at the sharp end of our society with the most to lose, the risk to jobs, families and communities are all too real.

A no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for workers, our economy and public services.

No responsible government would take such a gamble with the livelihoods of its citizens. That’s why we’re demanding it is ruled out once and for all.

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