Cab sec Sedwill ‘leading government drive to develop no-deal Brexit policies’

Report reveals details of plans to slash taxes and tariffs if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal next month


Photo: PA

By Kevin Schofield

08 Feb 2019

Secret plans are being drawn up to slash taxes and cut tariffs if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, it has been reported.

Cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill is overseeing the work, known as Project After, amid increasing fears the government will fail to get a withdrawal agreement agreed by MPs.

According to the Financial Times, he is leading a team of civil servants looking at what emergency policies could be implemented if the economy nosedives after a no-deal Brexit.

Among the plans being considered is cutting corporation tax and VAT to encourage more business investment, according to the paper.


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The group is looking at other measures, which could include such as reducing tariffs and cutting taxes, other options include export support. Another Whitehall plan, codenamed Project Bluebell, is looking at how specific sectors such as agriculture, car manufacturing and pharmaceuticals could be protected if there is no Brexit deal.

Details of the top-secret planning emerged as Theresa May returned from Brussels without progress on her proposals for breaking the Brexit deadlock by altering the backstop arrangements in the exit deal.

Brussels officials did agree to re-start negotiations with the UK, but insisted that the Withdrawal Agreement will not be re-opened to allow the removal of the Irish backstop.

Relations between the government and the EU plummeted after Donald Tusk said there was "a special place in hell" for Brexiteers who pushed for a Leave vote without having a plan for implementing it.

May criticised the EU council president for his use of language during face-to-face talks in Brussels.

The prime minister will fly to Dublin for dinner with Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Friday evening as she continues to search for a way through the Brexit impasse.

MPs are also expected to vote on a series of different options for the way forward in the Commons next Thursday.

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