I am pleased to tell my hon. Friend that in the spring statement we allocated £1.5 billion to make sure that we are prepared for all eventualities in the European negotiations.
I am grateful to the deputy Chancellor for her response. Has she had an opportunity to look at table 4.28 in the Office for Budget Responsibility report accompanying the autumn Budget, which shows a Brexit dividend of £55 billion in the four years between 2019 and 2023? Does the deputy Chancellor agree with her own figures showing that leaving the EU will be a great economic benefit to this country?
I thank my hon. Friend for his question. There is indeed money that will be released as a result of our leaving the European Union. We are working on the spending review, which will take place next year, and part of the job of that spending review will be looking at how we allocate that money domestically.
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor recently made a speech outlining the future of financial services and making sure we get the best possible deal with the European Union. Let us remember that London is a global financial centre—it was recently rated the best in the world—and as well as getting the best deal with the EU, we need to make sure that we can trade with the rest of the world.
It seems to me that over recent months the UK has changed its position from negotiating the final deal before the transition period to negotiating the final deal during the transition period. Is not the reality that the British Government’s negotiating position will be considerably weakened once we have left the EU?
We have made huge progress in the European negotiations. We are seeing business confidence increasing and investment increasing, and by this autumn we should have agreed a clear framework with the EU so that businesses have certainty about future investment.
The UK’s economic growth in the final quarter of 2017 was the weakest of any economy in the G7, and the OBR is forecasting that the UK is on course for our worst period of economic growth since the end of the second world war. However, none of these already dire forecasts factors in a no-deal Brexit, which would have a severe impact on jobs, growth and tax revenues. We know the Chancellor knows this; indeed, he has said so publicly. The question is: why are his colleagues not listening to him?
It is very important that in the negotiations with the European Union we always keep the option of no deal on the table; otherwise, we will not get the best possible deal. But we are very confident of achieving a good deal. Why is the hon. Gentleman not welcoming the fantastic economic news we have had this morning: the lowest unemployment—again—since 1975, and wages up by 2.8%? It seems to me that there are an awful lot of Eeyores on the Opposition Benches.