Chancellor disputes suggestion Brexit will make Britain poorer

The Chancellor has insisted he does not accept the premise that “Brexit will make us poorer”, but he acknowledged the move came with “costs”.

Jeremy Hunt said he believes the UK can make a “tremendous success” of leaving the EU.

However he stressed this will not happen “automatically”, adding he will set out some of the ways Britain might seize on the benefits in his upcoming budget.

Mr Hunt said it is important to consider the effects of Brexit “in the round”, as the decision brings both “costs” and “opportunities”.

Jeremy Hunt
Brexit will not make Britain poorer, Jeremy Hunt has said (James Manning/PA)

Last week, former Bank of England governor Mark Carney doubled down on his claims the move has taken a toll on the pound, suggesting the decision to leave the EU continues to play a part in the UK’s financial woes.

Downing Street has suggested Rishi Sunak is no longer dwelling on the “clear decision” made by the British people six years ago.

Mr Hunt told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “I believe we can make a tremendous success of it, but it’s not going to happen automatically.

“What you’ll hear on Thursday is some of the ways that I think we can make a success of it.”

(PA Graphics)

Asked if he denies Brexit has slowed economic growth at home, Mr Hunt said: “What I don’t accept is the premise that Brexit will make us poorer.

“I don’t deny there are costs to a decision like Brexit, but there are also opportunities, and you have to see it in the round.

“Literally within months of formally leaving the EU we had a once-in-a-century pandemic, which has meant the process of outlining what the opportunities are has taken longer, but I think we need to do that now.”

He said he does not think Brexit is the “biggest issue” with the UK’s economic performance, adding: “I think it’s much more to do with other factors in the labour market.”