These so-called “red wall” constituencies in the north and Midlands are in the top 20 percent of areas with job markets most reliant on sectors that are “at-risk” over the next two years. In some constituencies that voted to leave the EU the jobs market where the number of occupations are in high-risk sectors is as much as 47 percent. Areas in the Midlands and the north of England that suffer from greater levels of unemployment could be hit hardest from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Amy Norman, a researcher at the Social Market Foundation (SMF), a UK-based think-tank said: “Not enough attention is paid to the different local-level impacts of Brexit and Covid-19.”
“A local area’s ability to weather the storm of Covid-19 and thrive post-Brexit is dictated by its sectoral make-up.
“Drilling down below national and even regional statistics is vital to understanding how Britain can get stronger, more balanced growth.”
“Adding the impact of an undesirable Brexit outcome to the economic disruption of the pandemic will make it all the harder to level up the UK economy,”
The Financial Times has analysed data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on the job market in 17 so-called “red wall” constituencies.
These constituencies, traditional Labour voting seats but changed to vote Conservative, are in the top 20 percent of areas with job markets that rely the most on sectors that are severely at risk from the pandemic and a no-deal Brexit.
The ONS data reveals how a no-deal could make it harder for the Government to deliver on its pledge to level up the more deprived parts of the UK.
The analysis of the ONS data revealed that the 6.86 million jobs in areas exposed to the double blow of a no-deal Brexit and coronavirus is equal to one-quarter of the UK’s workforce and will be felt in areas that produce more than 40 percent of economic output, as of 2018.
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This would come after local economies were recovering from the debilitating effect on the economy from the pandemic.
The shift to working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic could also affect the real estate, construction, and transport sectors.
Another area that will be affected will be the arts and entertainment industries, due to shifts in consumer purchasing power and habits.