The Chancellor and cabinet colleagues, Amber Rudd (Energy), Liz Truss (Environment) and Stephen Crabb (Work & Pensions), took to their podiums in an ensemble of serious blue garments to give us an equally serious and sobering look at what life in the UK will look like if we decide to leave the European Union (EU).
The Treasury report, nearly 200 pages long (and perhaps longer than some budget reports) was an exercise the Chancellor said in setting out the ‘facts’ about what the UK economy would look like in 2030. This point is clearly disputed already by leave campaigners.
So, in a speech where the most used word much have been ‘percent’ what did the four cabinet secretaries have to say:
- It is ‘fantasy’ to claim that the UK can have access to the single market but nothing to do with wider EU regulations, therefore the only models for being outside the EU are those of Norway, Switzerland and Canada, all of which bring severe economic consequences
- Don’t believe the ‘flimsy’ claim about how much the EU costs us as we would lose £36bn a year for public services and need to put 8p on Income Tax
- The UK economy would shrink by 6% if the UK voted to leave the EU
- We have ‘the best of both worlds’ as we can influence the single market but not be bound by Schengen or the Euro
- Families will be worse off by £4,300 per year by 2030
- The £1 trillion of overseas investment into the UK, because of EU membership, means we can spend more on public services
- We’ve benefited from 50 deals trade deals done by the EU. These partners give up a lot because we are a market of 500 million people. In two years this would disappear, the UK would not get the same deals and the WTO standards are way below being in the single market. (Stephen Crabb)
- We would have £45bn less tax receipts every year
- The Canada model wouldn’t work for us as 80% of our GDP is in the services sector, theirs is 10% and we currently have no tariff barriers (Amber Rudd)
- If we follow Norway’s model then our strong reforming voice would be silenced and that is what I call a loss of British sovereignty (Liz Truss)
- People will be ‘permanently poorer’
Aside from what the leave campaigners would surely call a clear escalation in ‘Project Fear’ the other theme to the speech was to lay down the gauntlet to Vote Leave, and in particular Boris Johnson, to explain the trade model that they would seek should the UK decide to leave. After this ‘sobering’ report, whether it is believed by people or not they might just have to put more meat on the bones about what people can expect if 24th June is Independence Day.