Express & Star: Free trade post Brexit will help UK ‘flourish’; Ex-Thatcher aide says West Midlands well placed to benefit

THE West Midlands is in pole position to flourish after Brexit as the region embraces free trade and competition, according to a former economics advisor to Margaret Thatcher.

Professor Patrick Minford said the region’s manufacturing and service industries would blossom once the UK leaves the ‘poor old EU’.

He said others would become ‘far richer’ thanks to controlled immigration, bigger wages and lower prices on the high street.

Prof Minford also slammed academics and pro-Remain politicians for constantly ‘talking down’ Brexit and refusing to acknowledge the ‘many benefits’ of free trade.

The professor, whose work helped shape Mrs Thatcher’s Government’s policy on inflation and unemployment in the 1980s, was in the West Midlands to speak at Birmingham City University’s Centre for Brexit Studies annual conference. He said the EU was 20 years out of date and had become ‘totally redundant’.

Worry Turning his focus to the West Midlands, he said: “I think it has got absolutely nothing to worry about. Take the car industry, for example, where 60 per cent of the exports go to the rest of the world, not the EU.

“That tells you straight off that the car industry in the Midlands is able to compete with the whole world. Outside the EU, the firms here will switch to other markets, raise productivity and they’ll create jobs.

“The car industry here will do great, and the services industries will do better still.

“With free trade, the things we buy from the rest of the world will drop in price, which is another benefit that businesses and people in the Midlands will find. He added: “Contrary to the widespread fears that are being expressed, Britain’s economy will flourish post Brexit. It will all be good, good, good.”

Cardiff University‘s Prof Minford, who is part of the influential Economics for Free Trade group, said many Remainers – particularly among politicians and academics – did not understand Brexit. “And they don’t want to understand the many benefits of free trade,” he added. “More importantly, they don’t seem to see that plenty of people in this country do understand it.

“A lot of the academics who are pushing for a second referendum and spend an extraordinary amount of time talking down Brexit really don’t see this. People aren’t stupid.

“They know what they voted for and they just want to see it carried through.” He added: “When we leave [the EU] poor people will become far richer. They benefit from cheaper food prices, and the control of migration.”

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