LONDON – The government’s secret Brexit report assessing the potential impact of leaving the EU on the economy has just been released in full for the first time.
The government initially resisted publishing or even acknowledging, the existence of the report, until sections from it were leaked to Buzzfeed earlier this year.
Now the full report has been released by Parliament’s Brexit select committee. Here are the key findings from the report.
All likely Brexit scenarios will hurt the economy
The study, which was prepared across government, finds that all likely scenarios will lead to economic growth being lower than it would be if Britain remained in the EU.
Damage to the economy would be least severe under a ‘soft Brexit’ scenario under which Britain remained in the single market and customs union, the study finds. By contrast, the damage would be most profound if Britain left without any deal, as some Brexit-supporting politicians still advocate.
Benefits from leaving are massively outweighed by costs
Many in government, such as the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, claim that any economic cost from leaving the EU will be outweighed by the benefits of Britain being free from EU regulation. However, the government’s own expert analysis suggests this is not the case. As the above charts show, any benefit from loosening regulatory ties to Europe will be massively outweighed by the cost of harming trade with our nearest trading partners.
All major sectors of the economy will be hit
The report finds that Brexit will damage all major sectors of the economy, with manufacturing and retail the worst hit.
Brexit-voting areas will be worst hit
The analysis finds that the areas of the country worst affected by Brexit are among some of the most likely to have voted for it. Under this projection, North East England is set to be worst affected. Almost all areas of the North East voted to leave. The West Midlands, Northern Ireland and North West are close behind.
Almost all of the predictions for Brexit are bad
As the above chart shows, experts from across the spectrum are in agreement that all likely Brexit scenarios will likely damage the economy. The only difference is the extent to which they believe that damage will take place and how much it is possible to limit the damage by taking a different approach.