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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Brexit trade deal “isn’t far off a no deal” warns IPPR

Think tank expert says trade deal is “remarkably weak” - introducing major barriers to trade and offering little to major sectors

In a rapid reaction to the EU-UK trade deal announced earlier today, the Institute for Public Policy Research’s lead Brexit researcher says that the deal is “undoubtedly better than no deal”, but warns it risks causing a major economic blow to the UK at a critical time for the recovery from Covid-19.

Marley Morris, IPPR Associate Director for Immigration, Trade and EU Relations, said:

“For a deal with the UK’s closest neighbour and largest trading partner, this agreement is remarkably weak. In many respects this agreement isn’t far off a no deal.

“Crucially, this deal will not prevent the introduction of major trade barriers between the UK and the EU in one week’s time.

“While undoubtedly better than a no deal outcome, this deal offers little in critical areas of trade – including on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, on financial services, and on technical barriers to trade.

“Despite the Prime Minister’s claim that there will be ‘no non-tariff barriers to trade’, new customs and regulatory controls are set to kick in on January 1st which are likely to cause considerable disruption.

“Even where the deal offers benefits through maintaining tariff-free trade, it is not clear whether businesses will have time to prepare to meet ‘rules of origin’ requirements and so may end up being forced to pay tariffs in any case.”



Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer: 07779 204798 [email protected]

Marley Morris is available for broadcast interview


  1. IPPR will publish a briefing paper with a full analysis of the deal in the next few days. This will cover the overall deal but will have a particular focus on 'level playing field' issues - especially on the implications for labour and environmental protections. When published, The Brexit EU-UK trade deal: A first analysis by Marley Morris will be available to download at:
  2. Comments based on EU and UK summaries published here: and here:
  3. In 2018 IPPR was one of the first organisations to produce analysis of the implications of the Withdrawal Agreement. This is available here:
  4. Recent IPPR research also showed the negative impact the new points-based immigration system is likely to have on the recovery from Covid-19. Research revealed that 80 per cent of current EU-born social care workers and two-thirds of all EU-born workers would have been found ineligible for work visas under the new system. The full report is available here:

IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.