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EU Exit Analysis

Volume 636: debated on Tuesday 27 February 2018

10. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on the Government’s preliminary EU exit analysis; and if he will make a statement. (904037)

The cross-Whitehall analysis referred to is provisional internal analysis—it is part of a broad, ongoing programme of analysis—and further work is in train. The analysis has been developed as a tool to inform Ministers on the European Union Exit and Trade Committee and its Sub-Committees about the choices that must be made as negotiations progress.

I thank the Chancellor for that answer. Does he agree with the former permanent secretary at the Department for International Trade that giving up the single market and the customs union is like giving up a three-course meal for a packet of crisps in the future? If not, can he identify what specific evidence his Department has seen to suggest that the benefits of future trade agreements will outweigh the damage of leaving the single market and the customs union to businesses and jobs across the country, particularly in the north-east?

The Government intend to maintain the greatest possible access for British businesses to European Union markets. The hon. Lady is right that we should approach this on the basis of evidence. We should look for evidence of the value of our trade flows with Europe and what jobs they generate in the UK, and we should look objectively at the opportunities that arise with third-country trade deals and with the likely profile of the new jobs, trade and opportunities that can be created, and then weigh those carefully.

Leaks from the Brexit analysis show that UK Government borrowing will rise dramatically under Brexit, with figures ranging from £45 billion to £120 billion in a worst-case scenario. Can the Chancellor reassure us that he will not cut vital public services to plug this gap?

As the hon. Lady knows, the analysis to which she refers is based on standardised, off-the-shelf trade models. The Government are seeking a bespoke deal with the European Union to deliver a deep economic partnership, which would have a completely different set of outcomes. That remains our objective.