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Aberdeen 'will be UK city worst hit by hard Brexit'

Edinburgh also set to suffer economically when UK leaves European Union.

Aberdeen: City has high number of skilled workers.
Aberdeen: City has high number of skilled workers. PA

Aberdeen is predicted to be the worst-hit city in the UK by a so-called hard Brexit, according to a new report.

London and Edinburgh also ranked in the top ten list compiled by researchers at the Centre for Cities and the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics.

They analysed the potential impact of both a "hard" and "soft" Brexit on British cities in the ten years following the implementation of new trade arrangements with the EU.

Economic output in cities is predicted to be 1.2% lower on average under a soft Brexit scenario in which the UK joins a free trade area with the EU - an outcome which is looking increasingly unlikely amid reports UK Government negotiators are unprepared on key issues.

That figure drops to 2.3% lower under a hard Brexit where such an area is not immediately in place and the default is World Trade Organisation rules.

Aberdeen tops the list for worst-affected city in both scenarios, with output down 3.7% under a hard Brexit, and down 2.1% under a soft Brexit.

Under a hard Brexit, Edinburgh was ranked the sixth-worst affected, down 2.7%, with London down 2.6%.

These cities specialise in large "knowledge-intensive" sectors such as energy, businesses and financial services, which the research shows will be most affected by the increase in tariff and non-tariff barriers that Brexit could bring.

In contrast, the cities least directly affected by either form of Brexit are mostly less prosperous places in the north of England, the Midlands and Wales, according to the report.

These cities are largely characterised by low numbers of high-skilled firms and workers and smaller knowledge-intensive private sectors, which means they are both less vulnerable to the predicted post-Brexit downturn but also less well-equipped to respond to the economic shocks ahead.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1391899-six-in-ten-scots-want-new-eu-referendum-before-brexit/ | default

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: "Contrary to much of the received wisdom on Brexit, it is the most prosperous UK cities which will be hit hardest by the downturn ahead but poorer places across the north and Midlands will find it tougher to adapt.

"First and foremost, the government should do all it can to minimise the coming economic shocks by securing the best possible trade deal with the EU.

"That means ensuring that our post-Brexit trading arrangements are as close to our current relationship with Europe as possible."

He added: "But it's also critical that the government uses its forthcoming industrial strategy to give cities across the country the investment, powers and responsibilities they need to make their economies as successful and competitive as possible."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "This report shows that a Brexit, whether soft, hard or even multi-coloured will have a significant negative impact on major cities across Scotland."

The report comes as Scottish and Welsh ministers meet in Cardiff to discuss their opposition to the Brexit repeal bill.

The devolved administrations have said they cannot recommend legislative consent is given to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill as it stands.

The legislation - designed to transpose EU law into British law so the same rules apply on the day of Brexit as the day before - will lead to EU responsibilities in devolved areas initially being transferred to Westminster.

The Scottish and Welsh governments said it amounts to a power grab and must be amended to give certainty to businesses, citizens and to protect devolution.

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