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EU Withdrawal Agreement: Manufacturing Sector

Volume 651: debated on Tuesday 11 December 2018

13. What assessment he has made of the fiscal effect of the EU withdrawal agreement on the manufacturing sector. (908134)

The Government have undertaken analysis to understand the impact of different EU exit scenarios on public sector net borrowing, which is a UK-wide metric, and we have published an assessment of the economic impact of EU exit on different sectors. For example, the analysis shows that manufacturing sectors are estimated to have a significantly higher output in the White Paper scenario than under the no-deal scenario.

I thank the Minister for that response, but is it not true that Office for National Statistics figures in the last few months have shown a 0.9% decline in manufacturing and a worrying 6.6% decline in the automotive sector? What are the Chancellor and the Minister doing to provide certainty to businesses in this area about the impact of this Government’s chaotic Brexit policy?

I am grateful for the hon. Lady’s question. The automotive issue is related to other factors, including diesel. The Government are focused on investing in infrastructure in the north-east. I think that she would be very pleased to know that since 2010, we have had 66,000 new jobs in the north-east as a consequence of more business growth.

I can introduce my hon. Friend to manufacturers who find it significantly easier to export to the rest of the world than to the EU. Is there a lesson in that?

I think my right hon. Friend is right to say that the Treasury is looking at growth opportunities across the whole world, and that is why the Chancellor set out in his Mansion House speech the aspiration to have global financial partnerships that make the best of those opportunities.

I am perfectly open to the hon. Member for Bedford (Mohammad Yasin) coming in on this question if he is minded to do so, but I am not psychic, so I cannot anticipate his wishes. He needs to stand if he wishes to do so.

14. The Government’s Brexit shambles are making it more difficult for businesses in my constituency to function, risking jobs and livelihoods. Yesterday’s last-minute withdrawal of the meaningful vote has resulted in more uncertainty for businesses, which cannot plan for the future. How can any Chancellor justify making people worse off, not just in Bedford, but throughout the country? (908136)

There is considerable analysis from the Bank of England and the Government’s analysis of the long-term effect of the different options, with a significant reference paper demonstrating the different scenarios and what lies behind them. The Government are seeking to deliver on the decision of the British people in the referendum in a way that maximises the opportunities for the British economy.