No, we haven't assessed impact on economy of no Brexit deal, admits Davis

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/no-we-havent-assessed-impact-on-economy-of-no-brexit-deal-admits-davis-10802858">No, we haven't assessed impact on economy of no Brexit deal, admits Davis</a>
 

The Government has no assessment of the economic impact of leaving the EU without a deal, the Brexit Secretary has admitted.

David Davis said no new study had been carried out giving a cost for a hard Brexit since the forecasts done during the referendum campaign, which, he said, "don't appear to have been robust".

Giving evidence to MPs (BSE: MPSLTD.BO - news) on the Brexit select committee, Mr Davis admitted leaving the EU with "no deal", as Theresa May has threatened, would not be as good for the UK as a free trade deal.

He agreed that if the UK crashed out of the EU under World Trade Organisation rules, UK agriculture would face tariffs of 30-40% on exports and car manufacturers 10%.

Answering a series of questions from the committee chairman, Labour's Hilary Benn, Mr Davis also conceded British people travelling to the EU "probably" would no longer have healthcare benefits, the financial sector would lose vital passporting rights and there would be a departure from the EU-US Open Skies arrangement.

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When asked whether the Government had made an assessment of the economic impact, he said: "Well, it made an estimate during the referendum campaign, but I think that one of the issues that has arisen is that some of those forecasts don't appear to have been robust since then…

"But not since then. Under my time, no."

When pressed on the Prime Minister's insistence that she would rather walk away from the negotiating table than accept a bad deal he added: "She (Munich: SOQ.MU - news) said that because in the emotional aftermath of the referendum, there were lots of threats of punishment deals and all the rest of it.

"We had to be clear that we could actually manage this in such a way as to be better than a bad deal, and that is true.

"I can't quantify it for you yet. I may well be able to do so in a year's time. It's not as frightening as some people think, but it's not as simple as some people think."

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His comments came after a warning from the European Council president Donald Tusk that the UK would suffer greater harm than the EU if no deal could be reached.

In a tweet, Mr Tusk said: "We will not be intimidated by threats that no #Brexit deal is good for UK & bad for EU. No deal bad for everyone, above all for UK."

Labour committee member Pat McFadden told Mr Davis: "Without an assessment, you have mortgaged the country's economic future to a soundbite."

Speaking outside the committee hearing, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "The Government is recklessly talking up the idea of crashing out of the EU with no deal. They have repeated the mantra that 'no deal is better than a bad deal'.

"But we now know they have made no assessment of the economic impact of the Prime Minister failing to secure a deal."

Theresa May's official spokesman said: "David Davis was asked a specific question about a new overall economic assessment. It was also made clear that there is rigorous work going on across Government about the implications.

"The Prime Minister's view remains that a bad deal would be worse than no deal."

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