Reality Check’s Chris Morris has been taking part in the BBC’s We Are Stoke-on-Trent project.
H ha’s been answering questions about Brexit from viewers and listeners in Stoke,
What would no deal mean for consumer confidence? – Keith (from Titanic Brewery)
Chris: I’m sure one sentiment you would all agree on is “the uncertainty is doing my head in”.
Don’t forget there were forecasts that the referendum result itself would lead to a fall in consumer confidence. It didn’t happen, because the forecasters missed the point that if people had voted to leave, then they presumably thought it was a good idea.
So we have to be a bit cautious, although it has been a long three years. If no deal happens, it would be a sharp overnight shock to the economy.
Nearly all economic analysis is that over the short and medium term the country would be poorer than if we stayed in. For example, the Office for Budget Responsibility – which provides independent analysis of the UK’s public finances – believes a no-deal Brexit would cause a UK recession.
If that assessment is correct, and if other factors kick in (like the exchange rate making foreign holidays more expensive), then yes, I think your customers might have less money to spend – at least in the short term.
How will Brexit affect university graduates looking for their first jobs? – Gemma Adkins
Chris: It’s a big question without a simple answer.
At the moment, businesses don’t know what they’re planning for and don’t know the terms on which they might be able to trade with the rest of Europe in a few months’ time.
So there is this massive sense of frustration, but that doesn’t mean the economy grinds to a halt.
We are going to be talking about Brexit and trade issues for years to come. I suppose the most you can say is that some areas of the economy are going to struggle as a result of Brexit, and others are going to have new opportunities.
But Brexit or no Brexit, if you have skills that people need from your university degree then they are going to want to employ you.
Has enough money been spent on preparing for no deal? – Lily Soaper
Chris: The government has already allocated more than £8bn to prepare for Brexit, some of it exclusively for no-deal preparations, and there is an awful lot of work going on behind the scenes.
But businesses also need to prepare and, while big companies have spent significant amounts of money on their preparations, a lot of smaller companies don’t have the spare cash to do so.
Some of them did spend money preparing for no deal in March and then it didn’t happen, so their competitors gained an advantage. It’s a hugely complex process – some things might go better than expected, others will probably be worse.
It’s worth pointing out that no big modern country has ever tried to do anything quite like this before, so it’s impossible to predict all the consequences of a no-deal exit.
What will Brexit mean for me getting a job in the UK after graduation? – Federika Brandimarte (Italian, studying at Staffordshire University)
Chris: The British economy is still going to need plenty of workers from other countries after Brexit – it’s absolutely reliant on them.
As an EU citizen already in the country, you will be able to apply for settled status and stay and work and live here. So, in that sense it shouldn’t make too much difference as long as there are people who want to employ you.
As for international students in the future, the government recently announced that they would be able to stay for up to two years while they’re looking for work, and that would apply to both EU and non-EU students.
But future students from EU countries won’t have the automatic right to come and study here on the same terms as British students, just as UK students will no longer have the automatic right to study elsewhere in the EU.
What will Brexit do to air fares when I visit my parents, who live in Portugal? – Jake Walkden
Again this is really difficult to predict with any certainty.
We do know that aviation fuel is priced in dollars, so if the value of the pound fell significantly against the dollar that could have an impact.
But we still don’t know what air traffic agreement we will have with the EU after Brexit. At the moment we’re in what’s called the Single European Sky, which means that airlines can fly pretty much any route they want.
After Brexit that will have to be renegotiated, and if there’s a no-deal exit the EU has put in place a temporary plan to ensure basic flight connectivity. However, it’s more limited than what we have now and it would still have to be replaced.
In the end though, demand and supply may well determine whether air fares rise, fall or stay more or less the same.