Amendment 41

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Lord Wigley Lord Wigley Plaid Cymru 3:15 pm, 16th January 2020

My Lords, the objective of Amendment 41 is to require the Minister to present, both to Parliament and to the devolved legislatures, an economic impact assessment of the potential outcomes of negotiations so that we may know where we are heading.

First, over the past three years, numerous prophecies have been made as to the economic implications of Brexit, most of which were based on guess-work at the time as to what would be the outcome. All those guesstimates are now largely irrelevant. We now know three basic dimensions of our way forward. We know that we shall be leaving at the end of this month and that the implementation period will last until next December.

Secondly, the Government, presumably, know exactly what they want in any agreement reached with the European Union. They therefore will have made their own assessment of the economic impact if they get their way. The House and the devolved Governments have a right to know the detail of any such assessment, as well as a right to know the implications for each of our four nations and for the standard regions—in the amendment this is covered by virtue of a reference to the NUTS areas.

Thirdly, the Government have made it clear that, if they fail to reach and to achieve their negotiating objectives, they will choose to leave without a deal. Again, they have presumably estimated the effect of any such course of action. The implication could be disastrous for manufacturing, exporters, hill farmers and many others. However, surely the Government have, at the very least, a duty to make known the detail of any such estimates. Anyone in the world of trade, agriculture, manufacturing, industry or finance will clearly want to know, at the earliest time possible, what are the official forecasts for these implications, for the basic reason that they are quite fundamental to making any future investment decisions.

If the Government have their own estimates, they are surely duty-bound to share them, and if they do not, they should step back from negotiating a trade deal until they have the basic tools needed to make such a major and far-reaching decision, and to have those tools and the information on a logical and quantified basis. I beg to move.