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The Independent: Shock in Britain after the publication of statistics reflecting the impact of Brexit on the economy

The majority of Britons believe that Brexit was bad for the economy and trade, according to a new poll conducted by the British newspaper "The Independent".

The results provide the first indication of the damage caused by the departure of the European Union single market and the customs union in January. Official statistics on Friday showed a sharp 40.7% decline in merchandise sales to the European Union in January, with experts blaming Brexit for a large part of the lost exports.

The newspaper said the recession - which also saw imports from the European Union drop by 28.8% - represented the largest monthly decline in trade with the UK's largest trading partner since records began in 1997.

Lord David Frost, Britain's Brexit minister, blamed the impact of pre-Christmas stockpiling by companies and COVID-19 closings that had reduced demand for goods on the continent. He also said that the number of trucks heading to and from the European Union has now returned to normal levels - although experts have indicated that many of them are returning to the continent empty.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) did not show any similar declines in Britain's trade with non-EU countries, apparently conclusive evidence that the blame for Britain's red tape over Brexit.

Professor Thomas Sampson of the London School of Economics said the numbers represented a "big shock", with Brexit possibly being the primary explanation.

The most affected sectors witnessed a drastic decline, such as 83% in exports of fish and shellfish and 73% for live animals.

According to John Springford of the European Reform Center, Brexit reduced total merchandise trade in Britain by 16 billion pounds (22%), in addition to a 10% decrease in volume in the years following the 2016 referendum.