A U.K. government analysis leaked to BuzzFeed shows that under every scenario, Britain’s economic growth will be hit by an exit from the European Union, by at least two percent and as much as eight percent over the next 15 years.
The analysis examined three scenarios: Britain gets a comprehensive trade deal with the EU; a “soft Brexit,” where Britain remains part of the EU single market; and the “no deal” scenario, where Britain leaves the EU and its trade regime entirely and reverts to World Trade Organization trade rules. Even a soft Brexit would reduce growth by 2 percent, according to the analysis, and a comprehensive trade deal outside the single market would reduce it by 5 percent. A no deal scenario would lower growth by 8 percent.
The memo is part of a series of studies that has been the subject of intense debate, and a series of The Thick of It-like screw-ups for Brexit Minister David Davis. Davis had told Parliament that his department had conducted studies of how 58 sectors of the British economy would be impacted by Brexit, in “excruciating detail,” but refused to publish any of them, saying it would damage Britain’s negotiating position with the EU.
In a subsequent select committee appearance, Davis said those studies and their excruciating details were in fact not real, saying there had been “no systematic impact assessment” of how Britain would be affected by Brexit. He narrowly escaped being held in contempt of Parliament, but was told by the Speaker of the House of Commons that he had acted in a “most regrettable” manner, which I think is British for “fucking awful.”
The Conservative response has been to downplay the accuracy of the report. Another Brexit minister, Steve Baker, claimed that “civil servants have never produced a correct economic forecast,” according to The Guardian, and described the memo as “horror story predictions.” The BBC reported that “Conservative MP Philip Davies blamed the report on ‘London-centric remoaners’ in the civil service ‘who didn’t want us to leave the European Union in the first place and put together some dodgy figures to back up their case’.” This is, I assure you, quite normal political dialogue in the U.K..
Some are questioning the timing and scale of the leak, and not just Conservative conspiracy theorists: The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg noted that the sensitivity of the documents, which even ministers were not allowed to take with them after reading, “suggests that someone with friends in high places is trying to quieten the voices of those calling for a more dramatic break.”
Just another very sane part of a very sensible process to do the very necessary thing of leaving the EU!!!