Business Insider Edition

Boris Johnson's government admits it has no plans to carry out an economic assessment of his Brexit deal

Adam Payne , Business Insider US
 Nov 19, 2019, 03:53 PM
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.
Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • The UK government confirms it has no plans to assess the economic impact of Boris Johnson's Brexit deal with the EU.
  • Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said last month he would "expect" an economic impact assessment to be carried out at "some point."
  • However, the government said there is no "date for an 'economic impact assessment' to take place" in a response to a Freedom of Information request.
  • Labour MEP Julie Ward, who sent the FOI, accused the government of an "utterly staggering and a complete dereliction of duty."
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Boris Johnson's government is accused of an "utterly staggering and a complete dereliction of duty" after admitting that it has no plans to carry out an assessment of the economic impact of the prime minister's Brexit deal.

Last month Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told a House of Lords committee that he would "expect so" when asked whether an economic impact assessment of the withdrawal deal would to appear at "some point."

However, in response to a Freedom of Information Request by Julie Ward, Labour Member of European Parliament, the Brexit Department [DExEU] said: "There is no 'economic impact assessment' based upon the Withdrawal Agreement, nor is there a date for an 'economic impact assessment' to take place."

Under the terms of Johnson's deal with the European Union, the United Kingdom will leave both the single market and customs union, and pursue a loose trading relationship with the bloc after it has completed its exit.

Brexit is currently due to take place on January 31, 2020.

Almost all economists agree that a deal of this nature will cause significant damage to the UK economy.

Previous government analysis suggested that a deal similar to that negotiated by Johnson would reduce economic growth by 6.7%, cut wages, and leave average households thousands of pounds worse off.

Ward, the MEP who sent the FOI request, called for an "immediate" economic impact assessment to be carried out.

She said on Tuesday: "The government doesn't even know, or don't even seem to care, what their new Brexit deal will mean for the economy, business and families across the country.

"This is utterly staggering and a complete dereliction of duty that the Government have no plans to do an economic impact assessment on their deal ensuring the public will not know what it means for them in the upcoming general election. This impact assessment must be done immediately: the public is being kept in the dark."

Anti-Brexit campaigners accused the government of hiding the truth from the British public.

"From the same people who prorogued parliament and broke the law, this admission is hardly surprising" Naomi Smith, CEO of Best For Britain, told Business Insider.

"They know this deal would cripple the British economy for decades, but they would rather take the British public for fools than tell them truth.

"The Conservatives used to be the party of business, yet now they appear completely fixated in pushing Brexit through, whatever the damage it causes. But it doesn't have to be like that, tactical voting on 12 December could deny them a majority."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Getty

Last month, Labour's Hilary Benn, who chaired the House of Commons Brexit committee before Parliament was dissolved, wrote to Brexit Secretary Barclay asking for the government to carry out the fullest assessment available."

However, Chancellor Sajid Javid said analysis was "still out there" and "anyone can look it up," referring to previous government research which said that a deal of the sort that has been negotiated would reduce growth by nearly 7%.

The UK government has published analysis of the deal which covers potential risks and benefits of the agreement.

A DExEU spokesperson told Business Insider: "Last month the Government published an impact assessment alongside the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, setting out the direct costs and benefits to business."

However, numerous members of Parliament said it fell short of the detailed assessment they were calling for, and by the government's own admission it is not an economic impact assessment.

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