Shop Prices Fall as Barclays Boss Says Brexit Impact Negligible, UK-U.S. Relationship More Important


Shop prices for British consumers have fallen since the Brexit vote, with Barclays boss Jes Staley admitting any impact from leaving the EU will be so small it goes unnoticed.

The American banker told an audience at King’s College London university that there was “reason to believe that for some period of time, the GDP of the UK will probably grow at a slower rate than it might otherwise have grown save for Brexit, but it’s going to be incremental and so it won’t make the headlines” — a far cry from the threats of recession and 500,000 to 800,000 job losses made by the government and the Remain campaign before the EU referendum.

EU loyalists have clung to the fact that Britain’s growth rate has at least slowed as something of a lifeline, although experts such as former IMF Europe Deputy Director Ashoka Mody have said this is merely a result of the fall in sterling letting the air out of a dangerous finance-property bubble and rebalancing the economy towards manufacturing.

Indeed, manufacturing and exporting continue to perform strongly — and investment spending growth in Britain was, in fact, the highest of any G7 country in 2017.

Staley also suggested that developments in the U.S. under President Donald Trump might be more important to Britain than its future relationship with the EU, as the populist leader reshapes the American economy to make it more competitive.

“In some ways bigger than Brexit is the decision of the U.S. government to drop tax rates down to 20 per cent,” he observed.

‘There’s been a pullback on some of the regulatory intensity in the U.S. and we feel that as well.

“Not only does the UK have to keep an eye on what’s going on in Brussels and how to negotiate Brexit with the European Union, we also need to keep an eye on the very dynamic and changing situation in the U.S.”

However, he was also positive about the prospects of an Angl0-American trade pact once the mooted ‘transition period’ with the EU after Brexit expires, which could strengthen ties between the two countries significantly.

“There is a particular relationship between the United Kingdom and the U.S. which is recognised on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said.

“I would think having a trade deal done with the U.S. in a very quick period of time is important to the UK, and is important to the U.S.”

Coming soon after it was revealed that London remains the world’s number one financial centre, while its closest EU competitor — Frankfurt — has slid nine places to number 20 — Staley’s comments cause considerable discomfort for Remain holdouts.

With the British Retail Consortium revealing that shop prices are actually falling at the same time, despite the fall in sterling, their difficulties are compounded.

Remain’s official campaign bus promised ‘More Jobs’ and ‘Lower Prices’ in the EU, but with new EU rules threatening to inflict even more damage on the British fishing industry during the ‘transition period’ and prices falling anyway, they may have lost any public faith they once enjoyed.

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