United-Kingdom

Chancellor rubbishes his own advisers and denies Brexit ‘will make us poorer’

Jeremy Hunt dismissed the predictions of his own economic watchdog and declared that not accepting Brexit would “make us poorer”.

In an intermittent interview, the chancellor countered his watchdog’s analysis that leaving the EU would take away £100bn of production and £40bn of revenue by the end of the decade.

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But Mr Hunt, when asked about the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) analysis of a 4 per cent drop in GDP, replied: “I don’t accept 4 per cent”.

When it was indicated that he accepts other OBR expectations, he said, “I don’t have to accept them all,” adding, “I accept all the ones I agree with.”

The chancellor acknowledged that the “transition” to new trading relationships was causing “difficulties for some businesses” but argued that “the chances of Brexit” could outweigh them.

I do not accept the long-term impact of this decision [leaving the EU] It will make us poorer.” Sky News.

Hunt insisted that “Brexit is not the problem” as Britain enters what is expected to be a recession of up to two years, which will return living standards to 2013 levels.

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He said negotiating closer trade relations with Brussels – such as the “Swiss deal” rejected by Rishi Sunak this week – would prevent the UK “becoming the world’s next Silicon Valley, which is my long-term plan”.

The comments come after Michael Gove came under fire for failing to name a single change from Brexit “making business easier”, with criticism of the economic damage from the trade deal growing.

Instead, the leading campaigner in the Leave campaign pointed to CAP reform and gene editing, as well as the freedom to make “our air cleaner, our soil looser”.

Mr Hunt has claimed that the “vast majority” of trade barriers through punitive channels could be removed in the coming years, but without saying how.

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The Office for Budget Responsibility has always projected that an expected 15 per cent drop in trade will knock 4 per cent of GDP over the medium term — twice the economic damage from the Covid pandemic.

But the chancellor said Sky News The loss is “what the Office of the Budget expects if we don’t do other things to take advantage of Brexit opportunities”.

He cited efforts to “invest in the skills of our people, and reduce pressures on migration” as policies to mitigate the damage — despite net immigration rising to record levels.

“We’re going to craft a different economy outside the EU, high-skill, high-wage, next Silicon Valley of the world, with our own systems,” Hunt said.

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