Jeremy Hunt has prompted a bewildered response from lawyer and political campaigner Peter Stefanovic after he insisted Brexit is not the reason the UK economy is struggling to keep up with other G7 nations.
The latest gross domestic product figures show the UK is “still at the bottom of the G7 league table” and the only member that has not recovered its economy to pre-pandemic levels.
GDP figures show growth still 0.5 per cent lower in the first quarter of this year than in the last quarter of 2019 – just before Covid-19 hit the global economy – but the UK did grow marginally by 0.1 per cent between January and March 2023.
Asked by ITV News Economics Editor Joel Hills if Brexit is to blame for the UK lagging behind its allies, the chancellor said: “Since the referendum we have grown faster than Germany so it is simply not the case that Brexit is the issue.”
Pushed to explain if leaving the EU had been a drag on the economy, he responded: “I don’t believe it is – the figures don’t show that. The figures show for example that since we’ve left the single market that we’ve grown faster than France or Italy.”
Reacting to the statement, Stefanovic said: “The Chancellors grinning denial of the impact of Brexit is economically illiterate, utterly delusional and grossly negligent”.
Watch his response below:
Related: Wealth of Nations Index shows ‘exceptional’ drop for Britain