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Leaving the EU: Economic Impact

Volume 734: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2023

14. What recent assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of withdrawal from the EU on the economy. (905512)

As per my previous response to the same question by the hon. Gentleman in the last Treasury oral questions, I note that the UK has grown at a similar rate to comparable European economies since 2016, and that it still remains challenging to separate out the effects of Brexit and wider global trends on the UK economy. We remain absolutely committed to seizing the opportunities we now have, free from the EU.

That is very convenient. Only the UK has to deal with Brexit. Everyone has had to deal with covid and everyone has had to deal with Ukraine, but only the UK has had to deal with Brexit. That is why, according to the London School of Economics, customers have collectively paid nearly £7 billion extra in their food bills as a direct result of all the checks and frustrations that have come with Brexit. Is the Minister honestly saying that it was a good idea, and that it has not hurt the UK economy?

Let me again gently remind the hon. Gentleman to look at what is happening in the rest of the EU. For example, the eurozone is suffering from the effects of mild recession. All this is due to the global headwinds that we are all facing. However, I know that the hon. Gentleman will be delighted by the recent growth upgrades from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Bank of England and the OECD. We do face challenges, and of course we have to work with our global counterparts to try to deal with those global headwinds, but we are focusing very much on the Prime Minister’s priority of halving inflation, because that is what will make a real difference to our constituents.

Does the Minister agree that, despite “Project Fear” forecasts, we have record employment, very low unemployment, good inward investment and trade deals in abundance? Perhaps the Scottish National party should focus on its poor record on the economy and, indeed, on financial transparency, and get over the fact that we have left the EU.

May I take this opportunity to congratulate my hon. Friend on his recent honour, which is extremely well deserved? He has made his point very succinctly. We have an exciting future ahead of us—we are already signing trade deals with non-EU countries, and we have a fantastic deal with the EU—and it is now up to us to make a real success of it.