“THE results are sobering,” says John Springford, the author of the report that removes all doubt that it is more Brexit rather than the pandemic that is bringing Britain to its knees.

The report by the Centre for European Reform think-tank unveils findings that show leaving the free trade market will have a bigger impact on the UK economy in the long term than Covid-19.

The CER, which says it is “pro-European but not uncritical”, echoed the Office of Budget Responsibility, saying “Brexit will reduce UK productivity by 4%, while the long-term forecast for Covid assumes that impact from the pandemic will reduce productivity by 2%”.

Mr Springford said: “The UK had a particularly deep recession in 2020, but it ended Covid restrictions sooner than many of its peers, thanks in part to starting its vaccination campaign early in 2021.

“That should have made its recovery from Covid faster than other countries, not slower.”

He said that "now that most advanced economies have surpassed their pre-pandemic level of output, we have a basis of comparison for the UK economy".

It found the UK gross domestic product is 5.2% smaller than a modelled “doppelgänger UK”, showing how it would act had it not quit the EU.

The National Wales: Source: CER analysis of ONS and OECD dataSource: CER analysis of ONS and OECD data

Investment is 13.7% lower, and goods trade 13.6% down, while a services increase of 7.9% may be anomalous.

Mr Springford said it “should trouble Labour and the Conservatives that the economy is lagging so far behind”.

The Food and Drink Federation, representing food producers, has published a new strategy that includes a call for a “full digital overhaul of the border for food and drink trade”.

It says the 2025 UK Border Strategy should include measures to digitalise all commercial and official certification required for both imports and exports.

It added: “Any new preferential trade agreements must also insist on the need for high standards of production, environmental sustainability and animal welfare while recognising the unique features of the UK food and drink supply mix.”

The National Wales: Lord Frost gave Prime Minister a matter of months to turn the situation around. PA Wire.Lord Frost gave Prime Minister a matter of months to turn the situation around. PA Wire.

As Northern Ireland Protocol plans are flagged as the greatest threat now to the (UK) Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was given an ultimatum, according to one report from the Daily Telegraph, to get his house in order “setting a clear policy direction with broad support” before the autumn conference by former Brexit minister Lord Frost.

Another Brexit “flight of fancy” was spotted by business editor Ian McConnell this week, as the Transport Minister refused to listen to the facts on airport disruption.

“It is not taxing to decide whose version of what has caused the chaos affecting passenger air travel for people in the UK is the most credible,” he writes.

Business correspondent Kristy Dorsey examines what happened with retailer Missguided, as she says: “For all the dialogue on the demise of high street shopping – which was under pressure even prior to the landslide triggered by Covid restrictions – the fact remains that bricks and mortar outlets can make money, and online retailers can lose it.”

Also this week, as the energy crisis continues to bite, deputy business editor Scott Wright looks at what the windfall tax on oil and gas firms will mean for the North Sea sector.

“It is unlikely to be well received by green campaigners. But tax breaks look to have ensured that investment in North Sea oil and gas extraction continues to be attractive for energy companies.”

The National Wales: Source: CER analysis of OECD dataSource: CER analysis of OECD data