In the wake of a tumultuous week for the pound, British manufacturer Unilever reveals its intention to increase the prices of its products by 10 per cent. This means that household favourites such as Pot Noodles, Marmite and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream could now cost each consumer as much as an extra 40p.
Other companies are expected to follow suit following a rise in the costs of imported goods. This is owing to sterling suffering its largest decline in 31 years and plummeting in value against the euro and the US dollar.
In some airports, the value of the euro even surpassed the British pound.
These significant developments have been directly linked with the result of the EU referendum in June, as many companies have already chosen to conduct business with other countries in favour of Britain.
In addition to the substantial financial loss, Britain’s exit from the European Union has caused concern for many workers who fear they may lose certain rights and holiday privileges that European law has afforded them. Elsewhere, students and expatriates may be unable to enjoy freedom of movement if Theresa May triggers Article 50 in the near future, and some voters have been left frustrated by the revocation of the Leave campaign’s pledge to inject 350 million into the National Health Service.
The referendum result has also seen divisions within the governing Conservative party, suggesting that decision-making will be a slow and arduous process as the country remains in a state of the unknown.
SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is calling for a second vote for independence in Scotland, after confirming on 24th June that this was ‘highly likely’ as a result of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Scotland voted to stay in the European Union, a fact which Sturgeon believes provides, even more justification for Scottish independence.
“I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence and to do so before the UK leaves the EU – if that is necessary to protect our country’s interests,” she comments.
Despite claims of reduced immigration, continued access to the single market and greater sovereignty, the vote to leave the EU has produced nothing more than financial loss and worry amongst the nation. The French president, Francois Hollande has declared that ‘there must be a price’ and has refused to engage in informal negotiations with the undemocratically elected Prime Minister Theresa May.
“Britain wants to leave, but does not want to pay anything. That is not possible.” Says Hollande.
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who was slammed for his limited involvement in the EU referendum, has criticised May’s ‘hard Brexit’ plans, saying that this will be a ‘huge hit’ to manufacturing in Britain and suggesting that the country will turn into a tax haven. The European Union’s ‘state aid’ rule demands that corporations repay the tax they have avoided for many years, meaning that companies such as Starbucks and Amazon would no longer be liable to pay back billions owed to Britain if we leave the EU.
As our official departure looms ever nearer, voters are left questioning exactly what we voted for. The financial turmoil and industrial crises were never a strap line of either campaign, yet we now find ourselves in a position so precarious that the euro is on its way to becoming worth more than the pound.
As more and more people are calling for a second referendum, it is no longer a matter of what Brexit will do, but what it has already done – and that is a lot of damage.