FOR anyone who has made the dismal tour of shuttered shops in Whitehaven and Workington recently, it must be clear that there are few signs of economic recovery in West Cumbria.

With energy and food prices seemingly rising every week, as well as the ever-increasing cost of driving anywhere, a retail recovery seems a long way off.

The statistics are boring, but when they reveal that this country also has significantly lower economic growth and higher inflation than other developed countries, it is important to ask why.

All comparator countries have had to deal with the pandemic, fuel price hikes, supply chain issues and shortages. Why is any growth in the UK limited to London and Northern Ireland? Well, it could be the massive investment London gets as opposed to the rest of our ‘unlevelled’ country, but why Northern Ireland?

It appears that the unique regional recovery in Northern Ireland is simply due to increased trade via the Republic of Ireland via its continued membership of the EU’s single market and customs union, all because of the controversial ” Northern Ireland Protocol” (NIP).

Our government seems determined to change the PIN, even if a change means breaking international law and reducing the growth of Northern Ireland.

It also appears he is prepared to do so to appease a minority of hard-line, so-called ‘loyalist’ Unionist politicians, the same people who often refuse to implement Westminster directives when it does not suit them.

I believe we are now seeing the truth about the economic effects of the rest of our country not being part of the EU single market and customs union, hitting our economy at the worst possible time.

These pesky stats even suggest that instead of claiming the Brexit bus is saving £350m a week leaving the EU, it’s actually costing us £450m a week.

I know supporting or opposing Brexit has become a quasi-religious issue in this country, but I hope that doesn’t take precedence over honesty.

It is high time, six years after the referendum, that a precise “inventory” of the decision to leave be made.

The recent list of Brexit benefits produced by the Minister for Brexit Opportunities wasn’t exactly compelling, unless more powerful vacuum cleaners are your priority.

Things are going badly, the poorest are suffering the most and it seems that those at the top are getting richer. Is this really the result people voted for?

Tim Knowles
Frizington

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