Brexit has been a measurable success as the empirical evidence proves, says Stephen Bailey 


By Stephen Bailey.

Objective, verifiable and empirical data can’t lie. Across most metrics, Brexit has been a measurable success. 

Here are the unembellished facts:

Value of UK total trade in the 12 months to the end of April 2023:

£1, 743.1 billion (up 20.2% on the previous 12 months-the UK was the world’s 7th biggest exporter).

  • Of which, exports: £846.9 billion (23.8% up on the previous 12 months).

The UK exported:

  • To the EU: £340.1 billion (24.3% up on previous 4 quarters).
  • To non-EU countries: £475.1 billion (up 24.8% on the previous 4 quarters).

UK exports consisting of:

  • Goods: £428.1 billion
  • Services: £418.8 billion
  • (£846.9 billion total trade)

Number of GB businesses exporting 2021: 283,600.

The UK’s total exports have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. And, measured against 2018, UK exports were up 21% in current prices and up 0.5% once adjusted for inflation.

A key remainer / rejoiner argument against leaving the EU was / is that the UK’s trade would fall off due to Brexit as a result of leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, but again, the evidence contradicts them with a 32% increase in UK trade since the end of the Brexit transition period and the worst phase of the Pandemic at the end of 2020. 

As shown in the following table of data from the Office for National Statistics, exports have shown continuous and robust growth in the value of trade of both goods and services between 2016 and 2022, interrupted only in 2020 by the effects the Pandemic had on the economy (all figures shown in £billions):

Year     Goods   Services   Total trade

2016  297.6  275.3      £572.9

2017  337.6  301.9      £639.5

2018  350.4  323.5      £673.9

2019  363.5  336.2      £699.7

2020  307.2  309.6      £616.8

2021  323.6  330.7      £654.3

2022  414.1  401.1      £815.2

Exports of goods and services both rose by 22% each between 2016 and 2019 to both the EU and to non-EU markets. The composition of this trade was almost evenly split between goods (52%) to services (48%) and this mix didn’t shift during this period. 

  • Current UK trade with the EU is up 24%.
  • Current UK trade with the rest of the world is up 20.2% (on the previous 12-month period).
  • Across most metrics, Brexit has been a measurable success.

As for the effects of inflation and ‘depreciation’ on the total value of trade, it must be remembered that it was the economic fallout from the Pandemic, the Bank of England’s disastrous printing of £500 BILLION (half a TRILLION) of new money (quantitive easing) in a misguided attempt to counter the economic turmoil caused by the Pandemic (this just helped vastly exacerbate inflation), war in Ukraine, among other contributing factors, converging at the same time that caused a perfect storm leading to the current worldwide inflationary issues, not Brexit.

Even Europhile (pro-EU) Bank of England chief Andrew Bailey has admitted this recently:

Since Brexit wasn’t the cause of the UK’s inflationary cost of living issues, going back into the bloc (full membership or just the Single Market) won’t alleviate these problems.

In fact, many EU / Eurozone countries are suffering from an as bad, worse, or even considerably worse inflationary cost of living crisis than the UK. 

The current cost of living crisis is a worldwide phenomenon and so includes many EU countries, whose citizens are experiencing just as bad or even worse cost of living crisis as their counterparts in the UK, including comparable economies like France and Spain, where a recent study found that a basket of the same 23 everyday food and household items was pricier in these two countries than the UK.  

A study by economist Michael Saunders for research body Oxford Economics says that examining a range of food and drink prices, UK prices are typically 7% below the EU average-with bread, meat, and fish in particular relatively cheap. The study shows the UK’s competitive supermarket sector plays a role in keeping prices down.

By contrast, before 2015 (when the UK was still in the EU Single Market) on average groceries were pricier in the UK than in the EU.

For more from Stephen Bailey please visit:

© 2023 Stephen Bailey

Source: Office for National Statistics


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