Six of the ten UK cities most dependent on selling their exports to the EU voted to leave, a major report has found.
Plymouth, Mansfield, Swansea, Sunderland, Warrington and Nottingham are among the cities most reliant on EU markets, according to new research by think tank Centre for Cities.
But all six voted to leave in the EU referendum, despite sending between 59 and 68 percent of their exports to the bloc.
Plymouth, ranked second in terms of its reliance on EU trade, voted leave by 60 percent, while Mansfield, ranked fourth, voted out by a whopping 71 percent.
Swansea voted leave by 52 percent, Nottingham by 51 percent, Sunderland by 61 percent, and Warrington by 54 percent.
An average 46 percent of all UK cities’ goods and service exports head to the EU, the report found. Hull is the only urban centre that does not have the EU as its biggest trading partner.
In an announcement this month the prime minister said the Government planned to take the UK out of the EU single market.
Labour said there would be “enormous dangers” in Theresa May’s plans, and the European Parliament’s lead negotiator said there could be no “cherry-picking” by the UK in the talks.
In Cities Outlook, its annual healthcheck of the UK’s largest urban areas, Centre for Cities warned the country would have to “dramatically increase” trade with other international markets to compensate for the decision.
The group said that to make up for even a ten percent drop in exports to the EU, UK cities would have to nearly double them to China, or increase exports to the US by almost a third.
The 63 major urban centres listed in the report account for 60 percent of jobs and 62 percent of all exports in the UK, the report said, with smaller towns and rural areas accounting for the rest.
Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said the report showed securing the “best possible EU trade deal” would be “critical” for UK cities.
“While it’s right to be ambitious about increasing exports to countries such as the US and China, the outcome of EU trade negotiations will have a much bigger impact on places and people up and down the country”, she said.
“It’s also important that the Government aims to reach trade agreements covering as many sectors as possible, rather than prioritising deals for high-profile industries based in a small number of places.
“Broad trade agreements for all goods and services will help every city to build on its exporting strengths.”