Port expansion in Liverpool will open up South American markets ©PA Images
Port expansion in Liverpool will open up South American markets ©PA Images

3 ways Brexit will hit the North of England

How will Brexit affect the Northern Powerhouse? It's not an easy question to answer, but Damian Waters – North West regional director at the CBI – knows more than most

At a recent CIPS Manchester branch event, he gave three key areas to watch as negotiations continue to progress.


There is more than one hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the UK. “What does the border look like for ships coming in and out of Liverpool and other ports in the North West?” said Waters. Any deal around Ireland’s land border has the potential to change shipping routes too, which could impact the North West.

Foreign investment

The Northern regions get a lot of investment from outside the UK, and Waters said he’s already seen firms holding back investment due to uncertainty. “They’re not going to ringfence it for the UK,” he said. “The likelihood is it goes elsewhere.”

EU institutions put a lot of money into the North, including €3bn from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. “The biggest single investor in water and sewage infrastructure in the North is the European Investment Bank,” said Waters. “If we no longer have access, where do you get the backfill?”


The North is outward looking, with more trade focus on North America. Port expansion in Liverpool will also open up South American markets. “We’re a bit protected because we’re not as reliant on the EU trade as our counterparts south of the Watford Gap,” said Waters.

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