The Government’s own impact analysis, published today, shows that if Britain were to leave the EU with no deal and then unilaterally drop its import tariffs to zero, it could only expect to mitigate the costs of trading on WTO rules by around 0.2% to GDP. This barely makes a dent in 7.7% hit to our GDP by 2033 that the Government predicts will happen if we fall back on WTO terms.
The analysis says that “in a WTO scenario, we would have freedom to set our import tariffs to zero. Initial analysis suggests that this may mitigate the WTO results by up to 0.2% of GDP.”
Responding, Alison McGovern MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:
“This revelation flies in the face of the ridiculous claims made by leading Brextremists that we could save our economy from the worst impacts of a hard Brexit by simply removing all tariffs.
“Not only would this absolutely devastate our manufacturing and agricultural sectors, the short-term economic benefit it would bring would be a drop in the ocean compared with the huge economic loss of losing trade with our largest trading partner.
“This must the final nail in the coffin for the argument in favour of unilateral tariff reduction. The Government’s attempts to hide this information from the public, while repeatedly talking up the idea of leaving with no deal, beggars belief.
“Given these new facts about the enormous costs of Brexit, everyone is right to keep an open mind about whether we should go ahead with it at all.”
Notes to editors