A Brexit exodus may hit the UK economy hard. That's because a 50% reduction in future EU migration could reduce the level of UK GDP in 2030 by around 1.1%, according to PwC. The consultancy says a better measure might be the impact on average GDP per capita in 2030, which it estimates to fall by around 0.2%, or around £60 per person at 2017 GDP values.
“In the long run, efforts could be made to fill skill gaps arising from lower EU migration through enhanced training of UK nationals and automation,” says PwC. “But, realistically, such alternatives are unlikely to make up for any large reduction in EU migrant workers over the next five to 10 years.”
EU migrants have played an increasing role in the UK economy since EU enlargement 2004, with particularly large impacts on London, as well as on certain sectors such as food manufacturing, hotels and restaurants, warehousing and construction.
Highly skilled EU migrants also play a key role in sectors like finance, business services, technology, healthcare, academia and the arts, PwC points out.
Uncertainty surrounding Brexit is also holding back UK business investment which would otherwise be expected to be picking up strongly in the face of robust global growth and relatively cheap finance.
A huge 70% of EU nationals working as scientists, engineers and specialists are aiming to leave the UK because of Brexit, according to a member survey conducted by union Prospect,