A LEADING academic says everyone in Inverclyde will feel the effects of Britain leaving the European Union ahead of a special summit in Greenock next month.

Professor Alex de Ruyter, who is director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University, will explain the scenarios facing local businesses, organisations and individuals at a one-off event in the Custom House Hotel on May 21.

The academic has chosen to speak locally due to his links with the area, having lived in Gourock for a spell and proposed to his wife there.

He also stood as an SNP candidate at the Inverclyde Council elections in 2012 but says next month's talk is strictly non-political and is purely aimed at informing people locally about the implications of Brexit.

Prof de Ruyter says the consequences will be far-reaching, affecting everyone from shoppers to companies trading on the continent and organisations which rely on EU funding.

He told the Tele: "Brexit is something that will affect everyone.

"Even if you think you're not affected by this you are.

"There could be less money coming through the till due to a lack of EU funding and the price of goods going up or waiting times at the hospital lengthening because there's not enough staff if there's no freedom of movement, it's these types of things.

"There's lots round here that's been funded by EU grants and there's no guarantee that money will be dished out by an equivalent fund from the government."

Prof de Ruyter, who was previously head of law, economics, accountancy and risk at Glasgow Caledonian University, says there could be some plus points to leaving the EU - but he believes they are few and far between.

He said: "The only potential benefit of Brexit locally is ferries and the way tendering and contracts are awarded.

"Maybe the Scottish Government can nationalise that and maybe there's an opportunity there to reform procurement to benefit local companies like Ferguson's.

"But that's a very small element to it.

"Would that compensate for a loss of EU subsidies, business growth and strain on the NHS because it then becomes harder to recruit doctors and nurses?"

At the event in Greenock, Prof de Ruyter will deliver a talk before taking questions from the audience.

Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan will open proceedings.

The event is open to all and free to attend, with tickets to be made available in due course.

Prof de Ruyter said: "It's a non-political event and is from an economic viewpoint, not a political one.

"This is Brexit without the spin."