How to Navigate the 2019 General Election: Views from UCL


Brexit, tactical voting, the unity of the United Kingdom… The 12 December election is like no other in many ways. Our colleagues from across UCL offer their thoughts on how to approach the first winter poll since 1923. 

Read below our round-up of comments to prepare yourself for the upcoming vote.

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An Accidental Brexit: a Disorderly Referendum and Illusions of a ‘Global Britain’

WelfensTaking a macroeconomic perspective, Paul Welfens reflects what the findings of his book ‘An Accidental Brexit’ mean in light of new developments in the Brexit negotiations. He argues that if the true economic consequences had been known, the referendum would have turned out differently and shows the potential pitfalls of the ‘Global Britain’ approach to international trade.


The joint statement by PM May and President of the European Commission Juncker on 8 December declared: there is a basic agreement on the ‘Exit Treaty’, including a UK payment of £35 to £39 billion and the British promise to avoid a hard border regime in Northern Ireland. Hence, Stage II of the negotiations can start in the near future. An exit treaty opens up options to avoid a No-Deal Brexit which would bring a net welfare loss of approximately 16% of UK real income as estimated by the European Institute for International Economic Relations (Discussion Paper 234).

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Why Britain’s public finances will suffer if Brexit reduces migration

20271175720_875bb8c005_zIan Preston, Professor of Economics at UCL, notes that Brexit will likely lead to reduced migration. As migrants tend to be of working-age, this could result in a smaller proportion of the population comprising the labour-force, which could have a negative impact on UK tax receipts and public finances more broadly. 

Brexit will have high fiscal costs and a large part of that will be a consequence of what happens to migration numbers. That was the conclusion widely drawn from the Office for Budget Responsibility’s most recent Economic and Fiscal Outlook published in late November – the first since June’s referendum vote. It was illuminated further by supplementary analysis published on December 8.

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The economy after Brexit: encouragingly resilient or still a case of ‘wait and see’?

iainbeggIt is becoming increasingly clear that economists were wrong to forecast a major economic shock immediately after the Brexit vote. Iain Begg, Professorial Research Fellow at the LSE European Institute, asks whether the pessimists are wrong, whether it’s too early to tell or whether there are other forces at work?


More than five months on from the referendum, it is still hard to establish how much the vote to leave the EU has affected the economy, let alone what will happen next. The more extreme projections of a slide into recession have, so far, proved to be unfounded. Critics of ‘project fear’ will be gratified to see the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirming the earlier flash estimates for third quarter GDP, which show that the British economy grew at an annual rate of 0.5%. Buoyant employment data tell a similar story.

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Q&A: Thomas Piketty responds to surprise Greek election result

Thomas_Piketty_2015In the wake of a surprise re-election of Alexis Tsipras and Syriza, Thomas Piketty, Professor at Paris School of Economics and at EHESS, discusses the need for a more active approach from European leaders when it comes to the Greek question – and for a eurozone parliament to be established.
+++Thomas Piketty will speak at the UCL European Institute on 14 December 2015+++

The Tsipras victory has come as a surprise to some. What has changed for Greece?

Normally, we would expect some stability in the coming years. But above all, Greece and Europe need to make up for lost time. Until now, Europe has obstinately refused to talk seriously about restructuring Greece’s debt. That was what caused the downfall of the last government. Continue reading