British firms have diverted $10 billion of investment to the EU due to Brexit, study claims

  • A new study from the London School of Economics found that British firms are choosing to invest in EU countries rather than their domestic market due to Brexit.
  • Meanwhile EU businesses have been spending less on foreign direct investment into Britain.
  • This has led to losses to the U.K. of more than $13 billion to date, with the report’s authors expecting that number to rise.
An EU flag flutters next to the statue of Winston Churchill outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, in London, Britain January 15, 2019.
Clodagh Kilcoyne | Reuters
An EU flag flutters next to the statue of Winston Churchill outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, in London, Britain January 15, 2019.

Brexit has pushed British money out of the U.K., according to a research published on Monday.

British firms have increased their investments into EU countries by £8.3 billion ($10.73 billion) amid the uncertainty surrounding the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

A study conducted by academics from the London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) looked into how the vote to leave the EU has affected outward investment by U.K. companies.

It found that the Brexit vote led to a 12 percent increase in new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in EU countries by U.K. firms. According to the report, those investments would otherwise have taken place domestically and therefore represented lost investment for Britain.

Meanwhile, investment from the EU into the U.K. decreased since the vote, with new FDI declining by 11 percent. This amounted to an additional loss of £3.5 billion ($4.52 billion), with the report's authors predicting that losses to the U.K. would increase significantly in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Britain is set to leave the EU on March 29. With less than 50 days to go, lawmakers in the U.K. are scrambling to put together a deal for an orderly Brexit.

The report said there had been no notable increase in FDI from British firms into countries outside of the EU.

Authors of the report speculated that British companies were offshoring production to the EU because they expected Brexit to increase barriers to trade and migration – making the U.K. a "less attractive place to do business."

"The economic risk of Brexit is larger on the U.K. side of the Channel. British firms feel compelled to invest more in the EU but not the other way around," said Dennis Novy, one of the report's authors.

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry, said in a statement last week that the threat from a no-deal Brexit was "chilling investment and starving growth."

"No-deal would create considerable issues for our world-leading services firms, in most cases only avoidable by moving jobs and investment from the U.K. to EU," she said.

Earlier on Monday, figures from Britain's Office for National Statistics showed that U.K. economic growth fell to its weakest in six years in the final quarter of 2018.