Brexit: No10 refuses to tell the public if the Government has assessed if Brexit has harmed the UK’s economy

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Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg and No10 are refusing to say if the Government has done any studies on the economic impact of Brexit  (PA Wire)
Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg and No10 are refusing to say if the Government has done any studies on the economic impact of Brexit (PA Wire)

Downing Street was refusing on Wednesday to tell the public if the Government has carried out any economic assessment of the impact of Brexit.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman refused repeatedly to say if any such studies have been done.

Independent analyses have suggested that quitting the EU has blown a multi-billion pound hole in UK trade.

No10 highlighted that ministers were saying that Brexit would deliver “massive” benefits but failed to provide any economic assessment to back up this claim.

Asked whether any such reports had been done, the spokesman said: “As I said last time, it is obvious that since we left the European Union we have had a pandemic and then there has obviously been the war in Europe so assessing the impact as of now isn’t something that would be straightforward to do.

“But of course we want to see the long-term benefits of Brexit as Jacob Rees-Mogg set out in the House.”

Pressed on whether that meant there had been no such Government assessments, he again failed to answer the question, stating: “I’m saying that given the pandemic and other global issues since we left the European Union, that would not be an easy thing to do but again we remain committed to achieving the benefits of having left the EU.

“I pointed to a few last week, not least the trade deals that we have set out.”

Asked the question a third time, he added: “It would not be an easy thing to do, I would have to check if the Treasury or any other specific departments have done any work on this.”

Questioned whether the Government’s view was that Brexit’s impact was too difficult to assess, he said: “I’m simply setting out what has happened since we left the European Union.”

Asked if the Government was delaying an assessment until after the war, work had been done but that it was not yet clear if it was sufficiently accurate to confirm or that such a study was just too difficult at this stage, he added: “I’m simply saying we will continue to realise the benefits of Brexit as Jacob Rees-Mogg set out in the House yesterday.

“It’s obviously too early to assess the long-term benefits of Brexit given that we only left a few years ago and between then and now we have obviously had the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.”

Despite the Government’s stance, other organisations with far smaller resources have been able to publish analyses of the impact of Brexit.

They include a recent study by The Resolution Foundation, in collaboration with the London School of Economics, which warned that Brexit will hit workers’ real wages by around £470-a-year, compared to what it would have been, and damage Britain’s competitiveness.

Another report, by the Centre for European Reform, estimated that the UK was being hit with a £31 billion blow to GDP from Brexit in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Pressed if No10 thought the net effect of Brexit would be positive, the No10 spokesman stated: “The Prime Minister and Jacob Rees-Mogg have both been clear that there will be massive benefits to leaving the European Union.”

Britain’s former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost has admitted that quitting the EU may have so far hit the UK’s goods exports by five per cent but he doubts it will have any “measurable impact on our GDP one way or another”.

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