Brexit is the “elephant in the room” in Tory budget plan


Warnings that Brexit and its aimless trade strategy risks sinking national economy 

THE UK’S FINANCIAL FUTURE is placed in deep jeopardy by the upcoming process on exiting the European Union and its single trading market, according to opposition politicians reacting to the Tory budget. 

Millionaire Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond announced plans to increase taxes for the self-employed in his economic plan over the next year. However, Brexit was remarkable for its absence in his speech to the house of commons. 

Hammond only made one clear reference to Brexit, the UK’s biggest economic renegotiation since the second world war, and that reference was left vague with no extra detail of the government’s expectation of Brexit on the UK economy.

“There is no guarantee that a deal will be done.” Stewart Hosie MP

SNP economy spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said the plan was “meaningless” for not taking into account the risks of leaving the single market: “The key point I want to make is about Brexit. The hard Tory Brexit — the elephant in the room barely mentioned by the Chancellor — is approaching quickly. 

“It means that we will revert to WTO [World Trade Organisation] rules, with all the tariffs and other regulatory barriers, if a better deal cannot be struck, and I have no confidence at all in this government’s ability to deliver that deal.”

“There is no guarantee that a deal will be done. If the chancellor expects that the plans outlined today can cope with the consequence of a cliff-edge Brexit, which the Prime Minister plans, then the whole government are in for a very rude awakening,” he added.

Labour MPs added to the warning. Rachael Reeves said: “There is increasing concern that a hard Tory Brexit, in which we fall back on WTO rules and tariffs, will further harm our exports and inward investment, yet there was nothing today to assure businesses and investors that we will have a system that works for them in the years ahead.”

Chris Leslie said: “For a Chancellor of the Exchequer, at this point of the economic cycle, to fail even to mention Brexit — our imminent exit from the European Union — is incredible. 

“For our potential exit from the single market not to be part of the core analysis of the economic outlook, let alone for him not to be finding ways to bolster our economy so that we are prepared for the storm, is a real betrayal of the interests of our economy and our constituents.”

However, Hammond did mention Brexit – albeit in a general sense – at the start of his speech: “As we start our negotiations to exit the European Union, this budget takes forward our plan to prepare Britain for a brighter future. 

“It provides a strong and stable platform for those negotiations; it extends opportunity to all our young people; it delivers further investment in our public services; and it continues the task of getting Britain back to living within its means. We are building the foundations of a stronger, fairer, more global Britain.”

Picture courtesy of DFID

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