Calderdale's exporting businesses among most at risk in UK from 'No Deal' Brexit

Union and EU fags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Union and EU fags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)

Exporting businesses in Calderdale are among the most at risk in the country from a “No Deal” Brexit, councillors are being told.

They and vulnerable people are among groups in the borough most likely to bear a “No Deal” impact, which has no transition period, according to a briefing paper to be discussed by Calderdale councillors next week.

In the light of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the United Kingdom will formally leave the European Union on October 31 with or without an agreement in place, Calderdale

Council Brexit group lead officers and partners are revisiting potential risks both for the borough as a place and for individual services.

Specifically, they aim to clarify the implications of a “No Deal” exit from the EU, and to consider mitigating actions they can take.

They will also consider opportunities that could arise from Brexit which might benefit the borough.

The council’s Place Scrutiny Board will debate possibilities when it meets at Halifax Town Hall next Thursday, August 29, from 6pm.

The briefing documents provided to councillors indicate Calderdale businesses who export are likeliest to face problems.

If the EU impose tariffs after the UK’s departure, Calderdale is the 13th most at risk authority for all exports and 21st most vulnerable with industries at risk in the country – there are more than 400 principal councils in the UK, according to Government figures – say the papers.

More than half, 54 per cent, of Calderdale’s exports are to EU countries as opposed to 11.7 per cent to the U.S., four per cent to China and 29.9 per cent to the rest of the world.

As a result, businesses in Calderdale as a whole could see an anticipated gross added value – the accounting method used to measure the value of goods and services produced – drop of minus 2.4 per cent, according to the papers, although even a managed deal would see a fall of minus 1.3 per cent.

Opportunities resulting from Brexit may include new trade deals globally and local production stepped up to fill gaps where imports may increase in price due to tariffs, though tariffs have the potential to harm Calderdale exporters.

In terms of impact on Calderdale’s most vulnerable people, food vulnerability in particular may be an issue, says the briefing paper, due to factors including potential risk to some jobs, possible shortages of some foods, potentially increased food costs, possible reductions in donations to food banks and stockpiling.

All these factors disproportionately affect the most vulnerable people in deprived communities, council officers who have compiled the paper believe, also impacting on long term health with likely increased fruit and vegetable prices leading to less being eaten as a result.