- Report by Centre for Cities shows more than half of Manchester exports go to EU.
- Prominent Remain campaigners call on Theresa May to guarantee access to single market to protect city's prosperity.
A think tank has sent serious warnings about the impact on Manchester if the government pursues a hard Brexit. A report by the Centre for Cities shows that Manchester relies heavily on exports to the European Union – so will be seriously damaged by a hard Brexit that takes us out of the Single Market.
Prominent Remain campaigner and former Manchester MP, John Leech, has used the figures to call on Theresa May to protect jobs in the city by remaining in the Single Market. The government revealed recently it wanted to rip Britain out of the world’s largest Single Market.
A huge 54% of Manchester's exports go to the EU, most notably iron and steel. Only 13% goes to the US, and just 5% to China.
John Leech, the former MP for Manchester Withington, said: "These figures show exports to Europe are absolutely critical to Manchester's prosperity and we cannot allow Theresa May's reckless plan to destroy the livelihoods of so many in our city.
"Theresa May has said she is prepared to pull us out of the Single Market even if she hasn’t secured a trade deal with the EU. Where does that leave the thousands of people in Manchester whose jobs are dependent on access to the Single Market?
"Theresa May's ill-considered plan is a serious threat to Manchester's prosperity and she cannot be allowed to just sweep our concerns under the carpet. She must give us a cast iron guarantee that access to the single market is her top priority."
Jane Brophy, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester, who pledged to block Brexit if elected this May, said: "This Conservative Brexit government is threatening local jobs and prosperity through its reckless plans to pull Britain out of the Single Market.
"Whether they voted Leave or Remain, it's crucial local people get a say over what happens next, and only the Liberal Democrats can deliver that.
"The people of Greater Manchester must have a say on the deal we get outside of the EU in the form of a referendum, with Remain on the ballot paper. This is my absolute top priority for Greater Manchester."