'I can't see Brexit hitting us that hard': Optimism from businesses in Hull

  • Video report by ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills

Hull voted resoundingly to leave the European Union.

And almost one year on it's a struggle to find anyone who has any regrets.

At the Port of Immingham the ships that come and go are predominantly bound for Belgium and the Netherlands.

Here, everything from Ikea flat-pack furniture to fish and cars flows between Britain and the EU in increasing volumes and tariff, tax and quota-free - for now at least.

Quite what Britain's future trading relationship with the EU will look like is anyone's guess.

But Associated British Ports is taking a £50 million bet on a prosperous future with plans to double the size of the two container terminals.

John Field works at Immingham. He's seen trade pick-up since the referendum and feels extremely optimistic about the future. "I don't think Brexit will affect us," he told me.

There has been a price to the decision to leave the EU.

The weakened pound is affecting living standards.

Market traders in Hull can feel it but they'll also tell you that the regions economic problems pre-date the referendum.

Tracy Conway travels to several markets in the UK with her bedding stall.

She drops her prices when she comes to Hull.

"We take a lot of money down South" she told ITV News. "Sometimes it isn't worth turning up here".

Market traders Tracey Conway and John Hall say they are starting to feel the pinch.

The British economy has long since bounced back from the financial crisis -but the economic recovery has been extremely uneven.

We know, for example, that there are a record number of people in work across Britain.

But in Hull, the unemployment rate is almost twice the national average and average pay is significantly lower than it was 10 years ago.

Economic output per person in Hull is weaker than its pre-crisis peak.

Analysis of official growth data at (GVA per head) by the Resolution Foundation shows that the same is true for a series of cities and regions across Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and much of England.

"It seems obvious that the economy should be a priority for politicians in any election campaign but the regional disparities in economic performance need to receive more attention," said Stephen Clarke from the Resolution Foundation.

How the North/South economic divide looks. Credit: Resolution Foundation

Today the Bank of England confirmed that it believes that the fall in the value of the pound since the referendum has contributed to another squeeze on living standards.

The good news is the Bank expects it to be short-lived.

It forecasts that inflation will peak at the end of this year before falling away and that pay rises will become more generous as the economy picks-up again.

Large parts of UK will be hoping that the next economic recovery includes them.

Pay growth is expected to rise by 2019.