That is exactly right. It has been welcomed by all the major bodies. It has been welcomed by the City of London. First, this deal gives us the transition period, which is a vital respite for business in preparing for the future, and it gives us a commitment to a future deal that will protect our economy and, in particular, our financial services sector.
At the Budget in October, I made a Brexit prediction. I predicted that a deal that creates confidence in a smooth transition and a close future partnership will not only protect our jobs, businesses and prosperity in the long run, but deliver a short-term deal dividend for Britain. The Bank of England last week published its modelling of a range of scenarios to assess the potential impact as the economy makes the necessary adjustment to reflect the new trading relationship between the UK and the EU. The Bank estimated that a negotiated deal could boost British GDP by 1.75% in the short term, as businesses and consumers alike express their confidence in the future, while leaving the EU on WTO rules and without a transition period could cause a recession, with GDP reduced by up to 7.75% and unemployment rising to 7.5%. The Bank of England is clear: a no-deal exit would mean jobs lost, food prices up, house prices down and wage growth lower.
Businesses have made their views clear. The Federation of Small Businesses called this deal
“a welcome step back from the no deal cliff edge.”
The Institute of Directors warned that only 14% of its members
“would be ready to cope with a no deal outcome in March”.
The CBI has described no deal as a disaster for the economy.
This House has before it a deal that can deliver the certainty that will unlock the potential of our economy and assure Britain of the brighter future it craves. Let us not be the generation who have to explain to our children and grandchildren why we let that opportunity slip from our grasp. Let us choose now to move on to that brighter future, not to go back to square one with continuing uncertainty, division and disharmony.
As we make this decision and exercise our solemn duty in this Parliament in the interest of the nation, let us not forget the progress that we have made and what we would be putting at risk with no deal: eight straight years of growth; employment at a record high; 3.3 million more people in work; higher employment and lower unemployment in every region and every nation of the United Kingdom; wages growing at their fastest pace in nearly a decade; and the proportion of low-paid jobs at its lowest for at least 20 years. Britain is leading the world in breakthrough technologies—from biotech to fintech, and from robotics to genomics—and at the cutting edge of a technological revolution that will underpin our prosperity and success for decades to come, if we get Brexit right.