The Brexit Deal – A Report Card

A brief examination of the Brexit Deal signed by Boris Johnson yesterday (30 December 2020) shows that this piece of schoolwork gets very poor marks.

We will “take back control”      

Of our laws:      
Just 14% of UK laws were made by the EU, 89% of which were ratified by successive UK Prime Ministers as members of the Council of Ministers.
Of our money: 
Our net contributions to the EU budget were worth about 0.5% of GDP.
Government estimates are that Brexit will cost approx. 4% of GDP (OBR).
Of our borders:
Under EU Directive 2004/38/EC the UK always had control of its borders within the EU. Successive governments chose not to implement this directive

QED: We were always in control

What have we gained?

  • The ability to negotiate our own trade agreements.
  • A phased 25% reduction in the value of fish caught by the EU in UK waters.

What have we retained?

  • Zero tariffs and quotas for goods that comply with rules of origin.
  • A level playing field that maintains high levels of protection for environmental standards, the fight against climate change and carbon pricing, social and labour rights

… or only in part?

  • A limited level of market access that allows continued and sustainable air, road, rail and maritime connectivity.
  • A revised model for the trading and connectivity of energy with guarantees for open and fair competition and security of supply.
  • Limited and non-privileged access to police and security databases.
  • Limited arrangements for exchange of Passenger Name, DNA, Fingerprint and Vehicle Registration records.
  • Subject to financial contributions, access to Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programmes.
  • Subject to financial contributions, access to Euratom Research and Training programmes.

What have we lost?

  • Frictionless trade.
  • Visa free travel beyond 90 days.
  • Freedom to work in the EU.
  • Freedom to live in the EU.
  • Freedom to study in the EU.
  • Zero roaming charges.
  • Pet Passports.
  • Financial Passporting.
  • EU wide Recognition of professional qualifications.
  • Farming Subsidies.
  • EHIC Cards.
  • Erasmus Student Exchange.
  • Access to Galileo Global Satellite Navigation System.
  • Participation in and influence of the agencies that provide for the safety of food, medicines, chemicals and aviation.
  • Most Important: We have no trade deal for Services – 80% of the UK economy.

What will it cost?

  • Approx £85bio of GDP p.a.
  • 200 million new customs declarations needing 50,000 additional HMRC customs officers.
  • Additional £7 billion cost burden on businesses.
  • Border down the Irish sea. Northern Ireland still in the Single Market
  • Higher food prices.
  • Lower Foreign Direct Investment.
  • A weaker £ Sterling.
  • VAT and Excise duties payable on imported alcohol and tobacco products.
  • Added to what Brexit has cost so far – £200 billion.

So was it worth it to gain so little and lose so much to take back control that we had never lost?  Boris Johnson and his government chose this. They own it. They will be held to account.

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