Leaving the Eu: Economic Impact of Proposed Deal

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 12:44 pm, 20th February 2019

With respect to the Minister, this was of course a question to the Prime Minister, and it is the Prime Minister who should be answering. This is a matter of the utmost importance, because this House is going to be asked to vote on the Prime Minister’s deal. The specific question I asked was about the economic analysis that the Government have done on their deal. It is quite clear from the Minister’s answer that the Government have done no analysis on this deal. On arguably the most important matter that this House has voted on since the second world war, we do not have an economic impact assessment from the Government. It is, once again, this Conservative Government treating this House and the United Kingdom with contempt. It is a disgrace that the Government have continued to duck and dive in respect of their responsibilities.

Economists are clear: the Prime Minister’s deal is set to hit GDP, the public finances and living standards. Analysis published by the London School of Economics estimates that

“the Brexit deal could reduce UK GDP per capita by between 1.9% and 5.5% in ten years’
time, compared to remaining in the EU.”

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has warned that

“if the government’s proposed Brexit deal is implemented, then GDP in the longer term will be around 4 per cent lower than it would have been had the UK stayed in the EU.”

Bank of England analysis states the UK Government’s deal will raise unemployment by 4% and inflation by 2%. The Prime Minister is running feart of the truth, with her Government refusing to admit the damage that her deal will do.

The Government cannot claim that their November document covers their deal. Let us look at the facts. Page 17 of the Treasury analysis looks at the modelled average free trade agreement and states:

“As such, it does not seek to define or model a bespoke agreement.”

But the Prime Minister tells us she has a bespoke deal. The Treasury analysis continues:

“This scenario is not indicative of government policy, as it would not meet UK objectives including avoiding a hard border” in Northern Ireland.

There we have it in black and white: the Treasury analysis conducted last year does not account for the Prime Minister’s deal. So, I say to the Government, where is the analysis? MPs continue to be expected to vote on the proposed deal without the Government explaining the economic consequences. That is the height of irresponsibility.

The deal would be a disaster for Scotland, taking us out of the EU single market and customs union. We know that up to 100,000 jobs in Scotland are under threat. The Government are sticking their head in the sand. Everyone knows this Government are bringing our economy to its knees. We cannot allow the Tories to drive us off the cliff edge.

No Government can be allowed to bring forward a vote on such a significant matter without an economic assessment. It must be published. Shame on the Prime Minister if she fails to protect our economy, shame on those on the Government Benches if they allow businesses to collapse and jobs to be lost, and shame on any MP, including the Leader of the Opposition, if they march through the Lobby to deliver a deal that secures economic catastrophe.

No Member should believe that there is a binary choice; there is not. This is not a choice of no deal or this deal. Both are bad. Both will plunge our economy into an unmitigated disaster.