Parts of the UK that voted Brexit - such as Sheffield - are the areas most exposed to its effects, a report has said.
Areas in the Midlands and north of England, where support for leaving the EU was highest, are more economically exposed to the effects of Brexit than anywhere else in Europe, the research has suggested.
The University of Birmingham study examined the degree to which EU regions were exposed to the possible negative trade-related consequences of Britain’s departure and found areas in the Midlands and north of England had the greatest exposure.
This appeared to contradict claims during the EU referendum campaign in 2016 that London benefited the most from membership.
Researchers from the university’s City Region Economic and Development Institute looked at regional variations in the share of labour income and GDP reliant on the EU.
The UK was found to be 4.6 times more exposed than the rest of the EU, with the majority of member states facing almost no exposure. An estimated 2.64% of EU GDP was at risk because of Brexit trade-related consequences, the report found, whereas 12% of UK GDP was at risk.
The report’s authors concluded that this left Britain in a very weak bargaining position in economic terms.
Prof Raquel Ortega-Argilés from the University of Birmingham said: “London is genuinely the most globalised part of the UK and as such less dependent on European markets for its prosperity.
“In contrast, many parts of the UK, especially in the Midlands and in the north of England, are heavily dependent on European markets for their trade and prosperity, but in fact these are the regions that voted for Brexit.”
Sheffield voted 51% in favour of Brexit at the 2016 referendum.