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- The cost of reduced EU migration to the UK will cancel out any economic benefit of a UK-US trade deal, according to a leaked Whitehall analysis.
- BuzzFeed News has obtained a secret government report examining the economic impact of Brexit.
- The findings have sparked an economic firestorm, and also predict that Brexit will leave the UK worse off economically.
The cost to the British economy of lower EU migration after Brexit will be greater than any gains made by a US-UK trade deal, according to a leaked Whitehall report.
On Monday, BuzzFeed News published details from a secretive Whitehall analysis examining the economic impact of Britain leaving the European Union. On Wednesday, it followed it up with a second story – outlining the leaked report’s conclusions on the impact of potential post-Brexit migration policies on the economy.
It estimates that while a US-UK trade deal would provide a 0.2% boost to growth – but the economic cost of a strict immigration policy (“replacing free movements with arrangements in lien with those for non-EU citizens”) would be much greater. Meanwhile, a more “flexible” policy would still “cancel out” any economic benefits from the trade deal.
BuzzFeed News’ report doesn’t cite precise figures for the cost of the various potential immigration policies.
The Whitehall report’s contents have sparked a political firestorm. It predicts that Britain will be worse off outside of the EU under each of the most likely scenarios it modelled – from continued membership of the European Economic Area to crashing out without a deal.
Government ministers have downplayed its findings as potentially unreliable, while pro-European campaigners have seized on the news as evidence of the purported dangers of Brexit. After pressure from Parliament, Theresa May has agreed to provide the assessment to MPs – though it still won’t be made public.