Chancellor slams own advisers, denies Brexit ‘will make us poorer’

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Jeremy Hunt has blasted his own economic watchdog’s forecasts and declared that he does not accept Brexit “will make us poorer”.

In a fragile interview, the chancellor was confronted with his watchdog’s analysis leaving the EU will draw 100 billion pounds from production and 40 billion pounds from the revenues by the end of the decade.

But Mr Hunt asked about it Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) analysis of a GDP fall of 4 percent, replied: “I don’t accept the 4 percent.”

When it was pointed out that he accepts other OBR forecasts, he said: “I don’t have to accept them all”, adding: “I accept all the ones I agree with.”

The chancellor acknowledged that the “transition” to new trading conditions caused “difficulties for some businesses” but argued that the “opportunities of Brexit” could overcome them.

“I do not accept the long-term impact of that decision [leaving the EU] will be to make us poorer,” he said Sky News.

Hunt insisted that “Brexit is not the problem” as Britain enters what is expected to be a recession of up to two years, which will bring living standards back to 2013 levels.

Negotiation of closer trade relations with Brussels – such as “Swiss-style deal” Rishi Sunak dismissed this week – would prevent Britain “becoming the world’s next Silicon Valley, which is my long-term plan”, he said.

The comments will come later Michael Gove was criticized for fails to mention a single change from Brexit it has “made business easier” as criticism of the economic damage from the trade deal grows.

The leading Leave campaigner pointed instead to CAP reform and re-editing and freedom to make “our air cleaner, our soil more resilient”.

Hunt has argued that the “vast majority” of punitive cross-channel trade barriers could be removed in the coming years, but did not explain how.

The OBR has consistently predicted that an expected 15 per cent fall in trade would deduct 4 per cent from GDP over the medium term – double the economic damage from the Covid pandemic.

But the chancellor told Sky News the loss is “what the OBR projects if we don’t do other things to take advantage of the opportunities of Brexit”.

He pointed to efforts to “invest in the skills of our own people, reduce the pressure on migration” as policies to mitigate the damage – although net migration has increased to record levels.

“We are going to create a different economy outside the EU, high skills, high wages, the world’s next Silicon Valley and with our own rules,” said Mr. Hunt.

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