I’ve just seen a new report (from Best for Britain and the Social Market Foundation) on the double impact of Brexit and coronavirus, and feel like I’ve spotted an iceberg on the horizon that everyone else is ignoring – especially in the North West.

The report shows that any change to our trade relationship with Europe during the COVID-19 recession will hurt the UK economy.

But what I find especially troubling is that the North West faces a disproportionately severe impact.

Because of our region’s reliance on distribution, hospitality and manufacturing businesses, we face economic disaster should the UK leave Europe without a deal on December 31.

Half the local areas in the North West are placed in the highest risk category for exposure to this double economic hit, while a further 40 per cent are in the second highest category.

Brexit is done and we cannot stop it, but we can protect our jobs, our services and our local businesses.

However, our communities are already stretched to breaking point by the coronavirus pandemic and we desperately need time to deal with that before we can turn our focus to our changing relationship with the EU.

John Studholme


New Hutton