‘Lack of relevant economic analysis’ on Brexit deal ‘deeply worrying’

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MPs are expected to vote “blind” on the government’s Brexit deal, amid a “deeply concerning” lack of relevant economic analysis, the Treasury Committee has warned.

Chancellor Sajid Javid was asked to confirm or update the economic analysis of Brexit, in a letter sent on Friday by the committee’s acting chair, Catherine McKinnell.

Mr Javid, in a response sent on Monday, said Parliament would be kept informed and analysis would be provided “at the appropriate points”.

In her letter, McKinnell pointed out that the Treasury Committee asked HM Treasury whether the government updated its economic analysis of Brexit three months ago, and said it was still awaiting a response.

Mr Javid said the November 2018 analysis was “intentionally long-term in nature” and “designed to understand how changes in our relationship with the EU might affect the UK economy”.

He said he was not trying to predict how the UK economy “will actually perform in the future”.

The Chancellor said that the free trade agreement (FTA) modeled in the analysis “does not correspond to the agreement we will be looking for, as it instead modeled a generic, ‘average’ FTA, looking at examples of the whole world “.

He wrote: “The details of our own deal will be the subject of the next phase of negotiations. We will keep Parliament informed throughout these discussions and provide analysis at the appropriate points. “

Commenting on Mr Javid’s response, Ms McKinnell said: “The Chancellor acknowledged that the government’s previous economic analysis on a free trade deal does not match the deal the government will seek from now on.

“The government therefore seems satisfied that the deputies vote blindly on its new agreement.

“The lack of relevant economic analysis on which MPs can decide how to vote is deeply concerning.

While the Chancellor pledges to provide analysis ‘at the appropriate points’, it is not clear whether the analysis will be released before any other meaningful votes or the release of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

“In the meantime, the existing analysis and scenarios remain the government’s most recent tool to provide, in the words of the Chancellor,” an understanding of how changes in our relationship with the EU could affect the UK economy “.

“The government must therefore urgently explain why the previous analysis of an FTA does not match the FTA in the political declaration and clarify the impact of the current proposals.”



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