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Leaving the EU: the Economy

Volume 679: debated on Wednesday 2 September 2020

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect on the Northern Ireland economy of the UK leaving the EU. (905448)

What assessment he has made of the potential benefits to the Northern Ireland economy of the proposals set out in the Government’s July 2020 UK internal market White Paper. (905456)

By the end of this year, the process of transition to our new relationship with the EU will be completed. I and colleagues across the Cabinet are determined to ensure that Northern Ireland benefits fully from the opportunities that that will bring.

I am sure that all in business will welcome the announcement from the Secretary of State that there will be guidance given to all those trading in Northern Ireland by 1 November, but can he explain to the House how one formulates guidance for the implementation of a deal that has not yet been done, or will that guidance be written on the presumption that there will be no deal?

As we did with the guidance that we outlined just before the House broke for the summer recess, we have done it in conjunction with our partners in businesses across Northern Ireland through the business engagement forum that we have put together. We are consulting with businesses about what they need to live on the protocol, and that protocol does give confidence to businesses about what will be in place next year.

Does my right hon. Friend recognise that the UK internal market is the cornerstone of simplicity in terms of uncertainty over attracting investment to all parts of the United Kingdom, and any detractors from the Government’s plan and policy to maintain the integrity of the UK internal market would be undermining the potential investment in their community.

Absolutely right. My right hon. Friend makes a hugely important point. The UK internal market Bill will outline that integral structure of the United Kingdom as one customs union and one single market, which will give confidence to businesses and investors to the benefit of all our economies.