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Leaving the EU

Volume 636: debated on Tuesday 27 February 2018

13. What assessment his Department has made of the potential merits for the economy of the UK adopting an EEA Norway-style arrangement after the UK leaves the EU. (904040)

Membership of the European economic area would require free movement of people with the rest of the European Union, and the UK Government have been clear that the free movement of people cannot continue as it does now. We are seeking a bespoke, comprehensive and ambitious economic partnership in the mutual interests of the UK and the EU.

The Government’s own forecast suggests that a no-deal Brexit will cut GDP growth by 12% in the north-west of England. What steps is the Chancellor taking to minimise the impact of a no-deal, WTO-terms Brexit on my constituents in Eddisbury?

As I said in answer to a previous question, the figures to which my hon. Friend refers are based on standardised trade models, not the bespoke deal that we are seeking to achieve. She asks what steps I am taking to protect her constituents’ interests. I am supporting my colleagues in seeking to negotiate an ambitious economic partnership with the EU that delivers the maximum possible benefits for both the EU and the UK.

What assessment has the Chancellor made in particular of the potential benefits of EEA membership for the £91.8 billion contribution to the UK economy made by the creative industries that are so important for my constituents in Bristol West?

The hon. Lady is absolutely right that the creative industries are one of Britain’s great success stories. More broadly, our services sector is our strategic strength in many respects. As we negotiate our future relationship with the European Union, we have to ensure that we protect not only the market in goods, but the market in services, where Britain has such significant comparative advantage.