LITTLE more than a year on from the Brexit vote, UK households are already paying a big price for the decision.

This week, we have had a raft of fresh warnings from economists and business leaders about the impact of the surge in inflation following the vote to leave the European Union and consequent renewed fall in real household incomes.

Meanwhile, scores of Scotland’s most high-profile academics and politicians have this week called for last year’s Brexit vote to be overturned as “its disastrous consequences become clearer every day”. Senior figures from the worlds of politics, academia, business, and the arts signed a landmark letter to The Herald breaking a fragile consensus accepting the referendum.

Political big-hitters who signed the letter include former Labour first minister Henry McLeish, Liberal Democrat former deputy first minister Lord Wallace of Tankerness, SNP MEP Alyn Smith, and former Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson.

It is certainly the case that the dire consequences of exiting the EU are becoming increasingly clear on myriad fronts. The most obvious one, for millions of households around the UK, is an intensifying cost-of-living crisis.

We have also seen renewed debate around public sector pay rise caps. This issue was always, Brexit vote or not, going to remain controversial.

It still beggars belief that, as a result of the Conservative Government’s approach, public sector workers have for years now been forced to fill the black hole blown in the UK public finances by the excesses of the global financial sector.

However, the surge in inflation has made the cap look even more unjust.

Annual UK consumer prices index inflation, at 2.6 per cent, is nearly nine times its 0.3 per cent rate in May last year, ahead of the Brexit vote. So public sector workers are seeing a very sharp fall in real incomes.

There seem to have been attempts in some quarters to employ the politics of envy to somehow drum up support for this entirely unjustified squeeze on public sector workers.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has highlighted the value of public sector pension arrangements.

Such adequate pension provision was, until recent times, ubiquitous in the private sector. Just because companies have been falling over themselves to abandon such schemes, to cut the cost of providing for their employees’ retirement, does not mean public sector workers should be denied a pay rise that allows them to keep up with the cost of living.

A survey published this week by Edinburgh-based pensions company Aegon UK shows four in five people are now concerned they will no longer be able to maintain their current lifestyle, with 28 per cent redirecting money away from their regular savings to meet the increased cost of living.

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “Rapidly rising prices are almost always bad news for consumers, particularly pensioners on a fixed income who are clearly having to go through a bit of belt-tightening. The problem is amplified by both low wages and low interest rates, which give people little opportunity to grow their savings to meet the growing cost burden.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers, in its economic outlook this week, cited the squeeze on household finances and consumer spending arising from the combination of the leap in inflation, which has been triggered by sterling’s post-Brexit vote weakness, and subdued nominal wage growth. The accountancy firm also flagged the drag on business investment arising from Brexit uncertainty.

Lindsay Gardiner, who chairs PwC in Scotland, warned: “Where concerns should perhaps be focused is around wage growth as many are offsetting limited growth through increased borrowing - which may have a longer-term impact via interest rate rises or employment downturn.”

The value of Scottish retail sales in June was down by 0.5 per cent on the same month of last year, the latest industry figures show. The Scottish Retail Consortium, publishing the figures this week, cited squeezed household incomes as a key factor.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy and external affairs at the SRC, said: “Our concern is inflation on essential goods is now forcing cash-strapped consumers to put off discretionary spending, which exacerbates the pressure on shops.”

A survey published this week by Scottish Chambers of Commerce shows optimism among retailers and wholesalers north of the Border plunged in the latest quarter amid the inflationary pressures fuelled by the Brexit vote.

Very worryingly, Scottish Chambers’ economic advisory group chairman, Neil Amner, cited anecdotal evidence from businesses of a “steady drift of EU workers out of the UK” following the Brexit vote. This is against a backdrop of growing recruitment difficulties for firms across “almost all” sectors of the Scottish economy, Mr Amner noted.

A survey published by the Institute of Directors this week revealed 57 per cent of firms are looking at scenario and contingency planning related to Brexit, but only 11 per cent have begun to implement plans. This means there is “still plenty of opportunity for the Government to persuade them that our exit from the EU will be smooth”, the IoD claimed.

That said, we should not hold our breath for such reassurance.

David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, declared this week that it was “time to get down to work” as he attended Brexit negotiations in Brussels, proclaiming: “We are now getting into the substance of the matter.”

We are nearly 13 months on from the Brexit vote, so these comments are surely eyebrow-raisers.

It seems the Conservatives are absolutely no further forward with their grand plan, whatever that is.

From an economic perspective and from the point of view of millions of UK households, we are a great deal behind where we might have been had it not been for the Brexit vote.

And that is before we get to the colossal damage arising from the actual EU exit.