[3rd Allotted Day]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 11:51 am on 6th December 2018.

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Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond The Chancellor of the Exchequer 11:51 am, 6th December 2018

No. In all scenarios, we expect that economic growth will continue and the economy will carry on growing. What we were looking at in the analysis we published last week is a ranking of five different scenarios based on their impact on the overall size of the economy over a 15-year horizon.

The theme of today’s debate, as Mr Speaker has reminded the House, is the economy, and the economy has always been at the heart of the UK’s relationship with Europe. It was definitely not the lure of political union but the prospect of jobs, wage growth, trade and prosperity that brought Britain into the European Economic Community, as it then was, in 1973—I was there, and I remember. For most of us who campaigned 43 years later to remain in the EU in 2016, it was certainly not the political institutions and the paraphernalia of the Union that provided the motivation to do so, but a hard-nosed appraisal of our economic interests.

The fact is that our economic and trading relationship with the EU has been built over 45 years, during which time our economies have shaped themselves around each other and become inextricably intertwined: supply chains criss-cross borders; workforces draw on talent from across the continent; and a firm in Birmingham can deal with a customer in Berlin as easily as one in Bradford—so much so that almost 65% of all UK trade is now with the EU or through EU trade agreements. These trading relationships and commercial partnerships were not built overnight, but in a no-deal exit many of them would be destroyed overnight, as the market access and free-flowing borders on which they are based were lost. Although new trade partnerships with countries outside the EU undoubtedly offer new and exciting opportunities for UK companies, the analysis the Government published last week is clear that the benefits flowing from new free trade agreements would not compensate for the loss of EU trade from a no-deal exit.