Yesterday the Sunday Express ran a front-page exclusive from Jacob Ress-Mogg promising that Brexit wins are “coming soon”.
The new minister for Brexit Opportunities said the European Union will look at us in horror because the split will deliver “such dividends that within a decade nobody will want to rejoin” it.
He said many “big wins” were in the pipeline and the aim was to see “significantly higher” GDP and improved standards of living.
Peter Stefanovic, like a lot of other people, wasn’t buying it. He retweeted Mogg’s post and wrote: “He’s just told Parliament the NHS has already been given the £350m a week Brexit dividend promised! He really does think we are all thick.”
With this in mind, Hilary Benn took to Twitter and posted a thread that poured a lot of cold water on Rees-Mogg’s fanciful claims.
“After the Brexit deal was signed, Boris Johnson infamously claimed that there would be “no non-tariff barriers” on trade with the EU. It wasn’t true.”
“In recent weeks we have seen more and more evidence of the adverse impact that the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU is having on British businesses and exports.”
“The Public Accounts Committee has found that “UK businesses face additional administration and cost when trading with the EU.”
“According to new figures from the ONS, UK exports of goods to the EU in 2021 were 12% lower compared with 2018 – ie the last year before the impact of Covid and Brexit stockpiling – whereas exports to the rest of the world were only about 6% lower -ie half that amount.”
“The British Chambers of Commerce have said “with data from the first year of the TCA now available, the UK is trading less with the EU, than it was three years ago. This gap is not currently being made up by trade with the rest of the world.”
“And this week, the boss of one of Britain’s big retailers – JD Sports – is reported as saying that Brexit has turned out to be considerably worse than he feared.”
“Peter Cowgill said “I actually think it was not properly thought out. All the spin that was put on it about being free trade and free movement has not been the reality…. the new system and red tape just slows down efficiency….”
“And the Government’s response? “We know that some businesses are facing challenges with specific aspects of our new trading relationship, and that’s why we are operating export helplines, running webinars with experts and offering businesses support..”
“The trouble is that these things won’t deal with the problem, namely that checks, bureaucracy, rules of origin, paperwork and extra costs are a fundamental part of trading with the EU as a third country (which is what we now are).”
“So instead of offering webinars to businesses whose job has been made harder, when is the Government going to address the fundamental cause of all of this and start building a new and better trading relationship with the EU?”