‘Economic gap between South East and North will widen after Brexit’

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Milton Keynes could be one of the top three locations for economic growth at the end of 2020, according to a study (Ian Nicholson/PA)

A widening gap will emerge between the economies of the South East and the North after the UK’s expected departure from the EU, a new report suggests.

A study by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), predicts that, at the end of 2020, Milton Keynes, Reading and Oxford will be in the top three for economic growth, with no locations in the North or the Midlands in the top 10.

The forecasts are based on the assumption that an amended version of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement will form the basis of the future UK–EU relationship.

The report predicts that the 10 slowest growing economies will be dominated by locations outside the South East, with the bottom five comprising of Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Hull, Middlesbrough and Derby.

Victoria Brackett, of Irwin Mitchell, said: “Brexit has and will continue to take up a lot of Government time, but it is vital that it refocuses its attention on rebalancing the UK economy.

“Our latest report reveals that very little has changed in terms of economic growth and, looking further ahead, locations in the South East are expected to continue growing at a much faster rate.”

Josie Dent, xenior economist at CEBR, said: “Economic growth in even the fastest growing cities is set to slow in the year after Brexit.”

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