Javid rejects call to release Treasury impact assessment of new Brexit deal

Written by Beckie Smith and Alain Tolhurst on 18 October 2019 in News
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Javid confirms Treasury won't publish further analysis but independent think tank finds latest deal could be more damaging than its predecessor

Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The Treasury will not release a new analysis of the economic impact Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal before MPs vote on the agreement tomorrow, the chancellor has said, as an independent analysis found it could be more damaging to the economy than the one it is replacing.

Speaking in Washington yesterday, Sajid Javid said he saw “no need” for a revised analysis of how Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, reached this week, would affect the economy.

But a report published today by UK in a Changing Europe concluded that the prime minister’s deal will have a greater negative impact than the one agreed by his predecessor, Theresa May.


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Johnson’s deal could cause per-capita income to fall by 2.5%, the analysis found – which the report noted was “roughly equidistant” between its estimates of lost economic growth under May’s deal and an exit from the EU on WTO terms.

“Our findings suggest that the economic impact of Johnson’s proposals are substantially negative relative to the status quo of EU membership,” the Kings College London think tank said.

The report was published after a cross-party group of MPs wrote to both Javid and Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay calling for the publication of the government's assessment of how the new deal will affect the economy.

Exiting the EU committee chair Hilary Benn said it would be "incomprehensibly irresponsible" for the Treasury not to provide the information before Saturday’s vote on whether or not to approve Johnson’s deal.

"Given the significance in particular of the revised political declaration and the government’s previous assessment of the adverse economic impact of a free trade agreement with the EU, I think it is really important that colleagues have the fullest assessment available to them in order to inform their decision," the Labour MP said.

But speaking in Washington, the chancellor said: ”I see no need for a new impact assessment.”

He said that one was produced in November last year modelling a number of scenarios which was “still out there” and “anyone can look it up”.

However, critics have said there are gaps in the analysis, even before the latest deal was struck this week.

This summer, the Treasury  Select Committee wrote to the ministry's permanent secretary Sir Tom Scholar asking for updated analysis covering a broader range of Brexit scenarios.

Nicky Morgan, who chaired the committee at the time but is now digital and culture secretary, asked Scholar to clarify whether the November analysis remained relevant “given any advances in economic intelligence, data or modelling since then”, and whether officials in his department were updating the analysis to include additional scenarios.

According to the FT, Javid insisted Boris Johnson’s revised proposals would be “good for the economy”, but added that even if there were costs, securing parliamentary approval for the deal would be “good for the fabric of our democracy.

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Beckie Smith and Alain Tolhurst
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Beckie Smith is a reporter for CSW who tweets @Beckie__SmithAlain Tolhurst is chief reporter for PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared.

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