The former boss of the Brexit department has warned that the narrow EU deal sought by Boris Johnson will act as a deadweight on Britain’s capacity to trade, amid growing concerns that the country remains dangerously ill-prepared for such an outcome.
Negotiations with the EU remained stuck after Downing Street told EU intermediaries not to bother making a planned trip to London without offering a fundamental change of approach.
The Prime Minister stopped short of calling off talks, which will continue this week and in a sign of the severity of business unease, with more than 70 trade associations and professional bodies issuing an extraordinary joint plea to both sides to etch out a deal.
However, there are concerns within Government and industry that the alarming threat of a no-deal outcome has camouflaged the impact of a thin EU deal on trade. While a deal with remove tariffs on trade, significant non-tariff barriers will be imposed, adding weighty costs on manufacturers and practical hardships for hauliers, while the UK’s large services sector is also expected to be subject to new barriers, and Philip Rycroft, who ran the Brexit department until last year, said that intermediaries were hammering out the extent of new barriers to trade.
He said that no deal is worse than a deal, but that it was just worth remembering, customs declarations, security declarations, regulatory checks, rules of origin and compliance, all of the panoply of a border applies if they get a deal – either way, it’s a huge logistical challenge and an extremely pricey one.
He said that you have the short term impact, but then you have a dead weight on trade forever, because that’s the nature of being out of the EU’s single market and that it puts discord into our trading relationship with the EU and that disagreement equals cost and that it will transform the nature of the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU.
Talks held last week between the Cabinet Office and industry figures saw both sides voice concerns over-eagerness for the change expected in January.
Industry disquiet also remains around the readiness of a new border computer system, as well as the impact on sectors such as financial, legal and business services.
Ben Fletcher, executive director of policy at Make UK, said even the best deal now on offer was a long way from the kind of deal that was being discussed as a starting point during Theresa May’s discussions, which itself was an extremely long way from the status quo.
We should never have left the EU because now we won’t have control over anything, but whatever happens now, we’re leaving and it’s about time everyone quit whining about it and looked forward before they get left behind so that we can get ready for our oven-ready chlorinated chickens.
Of course, no deal has, for numerous years been a considerable risk, and those that went that route will ultimately find out that it’s the EU’s strategic interest to make it rough for us in the United Kingdom, and in the event of a no-deal the EU will make an example of the United Kingdom, it’s not personal, it’s business.
Boris Johnson has single-handedly annihilated the British nation thanks to his mishandling of the coronavirus and Brexit discussions. We will never be as robust again and we will vanish into obscurity as the union gradually breaks up – he’s obliterated the United Kingdom and isolated us from long term allies and friends.