Silly figures about the UK economy

It’s been ground hog week in the Commons. Labour has tried to imply the government was suppressing bad news, when Ministers were merely refusing to publish forecasts that look widely inaccurate and are similar to the wildly inaccurate short term forecasts and probably wildly inaccurate long term forecasts the Treasury published for everyone to consider before the referendum vote.

These people who write these silly forecasts never apologise for being wrong in the past, and never explain how on earth the UK economy could be damaged by trading with the EU on WTO terms rather than through the customs union. They are probably the same people or use the same warped analysis as those who told us the Exchange Rate Mechanism would be good for us, and who told us we would suffer badly if we did not join the Euro. Look at the colossal balance of payments deficit we run with the EU on trade in goods, fish and farm products, and how that built up early in our membership of the EU. It is quite obvious we did not benefit on trade account from joining. On the contrary, lifting tariffs and other barriers on things they were good at, whilst keeping barriers on things we were good at, led to a large and persistent balance of payments deficit with them. We have done much better trading with the rest of the world where we have a surplus.

Too many take EU laws and requirements without questioning them or refusing them when they are wrong. There are clearly still many members of the UK establishment who want to pretend we did not vote to leave, and who wish to make us continue to follow the Brussels way because that is what they have been making us do for years. Before trying any more Project Fear forecasts they should try explaining why the UK growth rate fell after we joined the EU, why we have had a persistent deficit with them, and why even the EU study shows there was practically no benefit from joining the single market.

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90 Comments

  1. Iain Gill
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes but we all know who is writing these forecasts, and that they are trying to manipulate policy, and that they are getting large sums on the public payroll.

    Surely we need to “drain the swamp” of such people actively trying to undermine the democratic wishes of the people?

    Sack the civil servants orchestrating this nonsense, JFDI, your party is in power after all

    • Hope
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      JR, there i she something wrong with the fresposnse Davis gave Priti Patel. He now claaims the EU made a £100 billion claim, which the Lords claims had no legal liability, and stated the U.K. Assets were deducted from the amount o the reach the alleged, £40 billion being banded about. The sums should now be made public so we can see how much was claimed and for what and why the U.K. Taxpayer is expected to stump up about £40 billion to talk about trade and further amounts to participate in schemes!

      I also seem to recall Davis claimed in Parliamwnt there was no need for forecasts a few months ago, so why were any carried out in the first place. Who is not telling the truth?

      We have now have to widely talked about as fact that the U.K. Is staying in the EU as a vassal state for at Least two years. This does not help business one jot.

      I looked back at the twelve point plan of May’s Lancaster speech. She has failed a large proportion of the points she made. This in itself is good reason to resign o be sacked. It has all the strength of Cameron’s Bloomberg speech. All points dropped before his negotiation took place and then he falsely claimed he reformed the EU. Still no clarification from Liam Fo for his remarks two days ago. He needs to clarify as a defeatist or resign in acceptance of his comments that his current role is null and void.
      Finally, when can we expect May’s resignation and Hammond to be sacked?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Drain the swamp indeed.

      Start with the BBC which does huge damage with its wrong on everything Libdem agenda.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      The feint hearts should take a look at what Russia has achieved since the sanctions were imposed in mid 2014.In agriculture it has cut its imports from $43bn to $25 bn,boosting domestic production by 11%-record grain harvests & exports,huge increases in pig production with new markets in Asia opened,a whole new industry for the largescale greenhouse production of saladstuffs,and a renaissance in small farms,etc-whilst resourcing it’s imports awayfrom the West to N Africa,middle east,Argentina,Uruguay,NZ,etc.It is has also replaced significant numbers of imported engineered products particularly for the energy industry with local production.

      I see that Goldman Sachs is now projecting GDP growth of 3.3% this year-way ahead of Russian government internal projections,whilst the government has never resorted to QE and has actually slightly reduced it’s debt/GDP ratio to just 14%.This from a country that was supposedly-ridiculously for anyone that knows anything about Russia-going to be brought to it’s knees within months for defying the international order.It does of course benefit from having a government that believes absolutely in itself and it’s people.Surely we can manage (some of) that too!

  2. formula57
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Treasury civil servants who write silly forecasts repeatedly might be dispensed with perhaps? Surely economic forecasting is one activity that is a good candidate for out-sourcing?

    Again, I ask why no-one in a senior cabinet job offers comparable cogent refutations to those you often provide? The people’s resolve needs reinforcing in the face of remoaner lies.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Formula 57, I suspect it is quite difficult to dispense with these biased civil servants. Not least because those who actually do the work in the middle levels know that their careers are on the line with their bosses if they protested about the bias. It all comes down to the weak and Remain Mrs May to sack those at the top to send a message to the ranks.

  3. Bert Young
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I do believe that the Treasury is behind many of the “leaks”- as stated in the Commons today . Civil Servants should not be the “influencers” ; they are there to respond to the directions of their elected Minister . Of course Hammond may well be the instigator .

  4. LenD
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    It all depends on your point of view, i can eell remembrr a time before we joined the EEC as it was known then when customs officsrs at UK airports and seaports had a field day with returning business people and tourists from europe a d further afield, harrassing them aboutwhere they bought their watches or rings, how much theycost and did they have a receipt..on and on..well i for one would rather not have those days back again..tha k you very much..just one of the benefits of free movement across europe…i holiday where i like,,and now that i am in retirement i would like to live in the south of france..my grandchildren, some of them already go to third level on the continent..just some of the benefits

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      LenD, Most people in the UK are not in your position, so your choices are very much in the minority. It is quite selfish of you to demand that your country should give up its independence just to suit your personal retirement dreams. Indeed none of the “benefits” you cite depend on the EU’s existence, every one was available before we joined.

      • LenD
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        NickC..i saved up very hard during my working life..i made some good investments..it’s bad enough in dealing with HMRC on an annual basis but i don’t want customs officiaks hassling me every time I move in or out of the country. Neither do i want to have to line up in never ending queues for immigration officers..I can see all of this coming back..I want the freedom to move with ease rather than being questioned all of the time like back in the 50’s and 60’s..don’t think that is asking for too much.

    • rose
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Would you barter the chance of regaining the independence of your country – an independence that was a thousand years old before it was thrown away by our politicians – for this sort of convenience on holiday?

    • Helen Smith
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Fine, go live in France, not a problem, but if you are no longer to live in the UK you really shouldn’t have any say on the UKs future, and the UK as a whole voted to Leave the EU.

  5. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Apparently Brexit minister Steve Baker has been forced to apologise for agreeing with Jacob Rees-Mogg that he had had a conversation with somebody in which that person had floated the idea that Treasury officials had deliberately set out to give unduly pessimistic forecasts:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/01/brexit-minister-steve-baker-accused-for-second-time-of-maligning-civil-service

    “Brexit minister forced into apology for maligning civil service”

    I’ve been back to check the Hansard record which I copied and pasted earlier:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/02/01/the-state-of-the-union-mr-trumps-address/#comment-916368

    and find it is unchanged, and I also watched the exchange on Parliament TV, and I cannot see why he should have to apologise.

    To repeat the last paragraph of my previous comment:

    “Personally I do not share the minister’s inhibitions about voicing suspicions that a group of civil servants have set out to deflect government policy from that laid down by the Prime Minister in her Lancaster House speech last January. To my mind the first question is who gave authorisation for these intrinsically unreliable economic projections to be made, or repeated, at public expense; the second question is who decided that the results should be leaked to the media; and the third question is who did the leaking.”

    And I would also say that it is important to answer that last question about who leaked this confidential information – was it a civil servant, or a politician? – before any civil servants rise up in arms complaining that they are being maligned.

    • rose
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Equally important to get on the official record who commissioned this exercise? Was it the same person who ordered the leak?

    • stred
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      That May instructed Baker to apologize for blaming civil servants, when he and Davis had not seen the document and were attributed as having produced it for ‘Cross Whitehall’, points to May asking Hammond whether it was produced with his knowledge while in China, or knowing in advance. Both must have known that a study on the same lines as the Project Fear original document would have equally anti-Brexit forecasts. John Mann had picked up the lower figure for immigration used on QT last night. GDP/head could be worked out easily when the method is disclosed. Over 15 years it is absurd anyway and can only be a propaganda piece. They cannot be that stupid.

      • rose
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        They possibly aren’t that stupid but they know the media are.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    May I ask, who asks or allows these people to work on such projects, which must cost a good amount of valuable time to produce.

    I assume these people are paid out of the public purse, and do not do it for free, so who is in charge of them.

    Why does the government even consider publishing reports that seem to use exactly the same flawed model that has produced wrong answers, time and time and time again.
    What is the point !

    Once again its all about failing management and lack of accountability.

    Find the person responsible and sack them, no matter if it is a Minister or a Senior Civil Servant.

    Or

    Was it Mrs May attempting to seek yet more guidance. ?

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      I see on Guido that Jacob R M is picking up on this responsibility and accountability theme.
      certainly someone should enough of this sort of freelancing has gone on for too long, May needs to sort it out and fast.

  7. Peter Wood
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I listened to the debate on this yesterday, what a waste of time. Later in the day, JRM raised the issue of what were these forecasts ‘designed’ to do. Perhaps this needs an internal investigation before anymore economic projections are considered by anyone.
    Most interesting, DD told us the financial settlement reached INCLUDED the value of our contribution to EU assets. So, the cost of our departure is 40 billion PLUS whatever value we put on our assets held at the EU. Would Dr. Redwood kindly investigate and clarify?
    Meanwhile, the PM, while selling beef to China, decides to make a stand on the wrong issue, again.
    Can someone kindly make a list of priorities for the PM to focus on, and get her some business experienced advisers.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Peter Wood, It is a fact that up to the BINO date (30th March 2019) we will pay the EU stipulated bill in full. So no change there. And no loss for the EU.

      Between BINO and the end of the EU’s MFF budget (in Dec 2020) there are 21 months. During that time, if we remained in the EU, we would pay the EU about £35bn gross at current rates of c£20bn/yr. No-one so far has said we owe the EU beyond the end of the current MFF.

      But the net amount would be about half the £35bn, or £17.5bn. The EU normally gains by the net amount – it’s free money for them. So the EU would lose that net money due to our no longer paying the regular amount. The EU’s loss, under £20bn for those 21 months, is actually HALF what the government has already agreed to.

      Mrs May is being irresponsible with taxpayers’ money. No other explanation is available.

  8. Alison
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Silly figures indeed, but they will be used and used, and swallowed by quite a lot of voters.

    I have seen much that bears out your statement re barriers put up to things we are good at.

    Interesting listening on Question Time tonight – panel members and Grantham audience. John Mann said net immigration one of key elements in the Treasury forecasting/model; so a drop in net immigration leads to worse economic performance. How can our country’s Treasury take immigration as a pillar of our country’s economic health? Our country’s economic health should be built on our own people. Recognizing that, government, local authorities will then plan to educate for the skills a country needs.

    I am very worried about Mrs May’s wording when she spoke in China about EU citizens’ rights in the UK during the transition period. She should simply, categorically say, no freedom of movement full stop after Brexit, though I fear that if there is an agreement, what she has caved in to in the Dec 2017, means EU citizens will get ‘full’ rights. (WTO please)

    What also worries me sick is that if freedom of movement continues during the transition period, people will flood in, in their many millions (and allowed to vote on everything, including future votes on issues of UK sovereignty vis-a-vis EU), in order to come to the UK, ‘cool’, a land of milk and honey. In the same way that Blair was ludicrously wrong in 2004 when the gates were opened .. not 13,000.

  9. mancunius
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Lord Lamont told BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight programme that though Treasury forecasts had been ‘badly wrong’ so far, ‘I don’t believe for one minute that these forecasts were made for political reasons, or designed to undermine Brexit. It’s possible there could be an institutional bias in the Treasury that takes [too] over-pessimistic a view of Brexit, but I don’t believe any of this is done for political reasons, to get ministers off a path that they’ve otherwise decided.’
    I must say find it difficult to swallow the motion that Treasury civil servants are simply innocently misled through passive ‘institutional bias’ into producing wildly inaccurate forecasts that are then somehow always leaked to the press.

    • robert lewy
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      As I said on a post 3 or 4 days ago STILL AWAITING MODERATION, this forecast was based on the Gravity model of International Trade which analyses trade effects in relation to distance between entities and “costs” of trade. It does not require the detailed statistical work that went into it to guess what such a model will say on UK Brexit.

      The nature of the model is inherently biased against any barrier to the existing pattern of trade. Criticism of the model include that it is takes no account of new sources of trade encouraged by leaving the block.

      RIRO

    • mancunius
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 4:34 am | Permalink

      “I must say find it difficult to swallow the motion”
      should read: “I must say I find it difficult to swallow the notion”
      – with apologies.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    The EU Single Market is a “jewel” according to the EU Commissioner now in charge of it, a Polish lady by the name of Elżbieta Bieńkowska who succeeded Michel Barnier, but by the estimates repeatedly published by the Commission over the years at best it is more in the nature of a semi-precious stone.

    This document was produced for a recent event to celebrate its 25th anniversary:

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/resources/library/media/20180116RES91806/20180116RES91806.pdf

    “25 years of the EU Single Market: Key achievements”

    “From its cradle to the Single Market of today (1993-2018)”

    Which tells us that from 1992 to 2006 “it increased EU GDP by 2.2 %”.

    On the other hand in the new revised edition of its April 2016 doom laden predictions the Treasury claims to believe that if we leave the Single Market and move to WTO terms then we will lose 8% of GDP in 15 years time, while even if we stay in the Single Market we will still suffer some loss over that period, but a loss of only 2% of GDP:

    https://www.ft.com/content/dae1412a-06b5-11e8-9650-9c0ad2d7c5b5

    From which appears that the Treasury economists value membership of, or participation in, the EU Single Market as about 6% of UK GDP; not the 2% or thereabouts which the EU Commission has repeatedly claimed as the average benefit for the EU as a whole, and not the mere 1% which may well be closer to the truth for the UK.

    In fact it’s almost as if the Treasury hasn’t noticed that in practice the EU Single Market has fallen far short of the 5% plus enhancement of GDP originally projected:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2016/05/26/why-we-will-be-better-off-out-of-the-eu/#comment-815079

    I think this discrepancy requires some explanation, and I look forward to seeing it.

  11. BobB
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    If it really is so bad then what are we talking to them about..we should simply fold up tent and walk away from talks then wait until 30th March 2019..problwm solved. Cant undetstand why these politicians go on and on about the EU when we are clearly going to leave..hey presto! juzt leave

  12. Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    On the contrary, it has been clearly explained that trading on WTO terms, instead of the customs union, damages the UK very badly because WTO rules, in contrast to EU rules, are much weaker in tackling non tariff barriers, especially on services. That you and your friends like Mr Rees Mogg seem incapable of grasping this very basic point does not mean the expert civil servants in the field do not grasp it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Perhaps you could provide a reference to that clear explanation …

    • BobB
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Yes Perry and we have so many red lines in place that we can only have an agreement with them something like Canada or South Korea has..we’ve just heard the PM repeating some of these red lines again from China..so as regards the EU what’s to talk about?

    • libertarian
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Dear Perry

      As someone who trades services internationally perhaps you’d like to give me some evidence of non tariff barriers that I’m facing outside the EU. Then maybe you would like to explain why Germany for instance actually operate a “non tariff barrier” in my market place within the customs union .

      Perhaps, with your vast superior knowledge of business you might like to inform us how the customs union benefits internal services

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Libeertarian

        Just look below but they ahve been presented t you before as some of them are non-tariffs barrier as well

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Perry, The WTO doesn’t have “terms” it has rules. Once free of the EU, the UK can set what tariff terms we decide: our tariffs could be as high as the EU’s tariffs, but they could be much lower, even zero. The WTO, unlike the EU, does not set tariffs.

      The WTO is very strongly opposed to non-tariff barriers, and provides a route for the aggrieved nation to remedy the problem. The WTO is more rigorous and more transparent than the EU. In many cases the EU institutionalises non-tariff barriers: the vacuum cleaner power limitation and the similar attempt for kettles being one example among many.

      • Jonp
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        Not so NickC..the WTO is very secretative on how it deliberates abd takes its decisions..the WTO can even compel sovereign nations to change their laws to suit WTO decisions..so much for taking back control

        Reply We are members of the WTO whilst in the EU!

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        NickC

        All nations set barriers and it is becoming worse
        USA, Steel, beef, washing machines, solar cells.
        China: Insurance, financial services, cars.
        South Korea. Cars and financial services
        Japan. Rice, beef and cars

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        NickC,

        It wold be even better if everybody actually follow the WTO rules once they are implemented but they don’t do that either.

        Why, don’t you give us some figures on how positive the WTO trade solution will be for Britain if we leave the Eu only under WTO rules . Please in actual facts and figures, that would be very helpful?

        thak you

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Perry

      If you are such an expert please explain what barriers can be put in place for services (apart from passporting which only covers retail baniing) by the eu without breaking international rules given that there is no such thing as a single market in services.

      Also explain why the eu has so few provisions for services included in F T As when compared to Switzerland who have included services in most of their F T As

      • Posted February 3, 2018 at 6:26 am | Permalink

        Requirements for professional qualifications, requirement to have a local HQ, requirement to use only the local language, requirement to have large paid-up capital, requirement to have locals on the board …. All illegal in the EU, all allowed by the WTO. Get it?

        • NickC
          Posted February 3, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          Perry, So you are saying that “requirements for professional qualifications” is “illegal in the EU”? What are you wittering about?

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Indeed these forecasts are just a continuation of project fear done by people who were/are generally so moronic that they thought the ERM and EURO were good plans.

    Get a real Brexit, go for cheap energy, low taxes and a bonfire of red tape and we will be hugely better off as a country.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, True. The Tories are letting slip the advantages of a quick clean Brexit. The lost opportunity costs must be enormous.

  14. Mark B
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The EEC/EC/EU is a political project designed in such a way that member countries would have to cede ever more power to the centre over time. It uses economics, trade, laws, regulation and rules as a means to control member countries. These laws, regulations and rules have been used by large corporations via the, Round Table of Industrialists, to effectively create a Plutocracy and steer the EU in a direction that suits it best eg HS1 and HS2.

    It is continued access to this wealthy elite that those in this country wish to maintain. The price of which, is continued membership to the EU, even if it is in name only.

    Through the power of the EU and the Commission they can get regulations and laws made that effectively keep prices high by creating evermore expensive and pointless regulation. The cost of which large corporates can either avoid or absorb. Smaller competitors are simply forced out.

    Leaving the EU is about restoring parliamentary sovereignty and control over how we are governed. Nothing else ! It is not about immigration or spending more money on services. All these are just side issues.

    Leaving the EU is not difficult in principle, we have less than two years. It is the practice thereafter that is. It is the ‘thereafter’ that we should be looking at.

    We have people in parliament who simply cannot understand, or do and are acting against the will of the people, and simply do not wish to leave the comfort of the EU-Wet-Nurse. For them it is the realisation that they will be exposed for the mediocrity that they truly are. Much easier for someone else to do your job and take the blame if it all goes wrong.

    There were reports in the press regarding very disturbing and disparaging remarks by the German Chancellor towards one Her Majesties Ministers at Davos. If these reports are true, then the UK is in a far worse position than I feared. It exposed the sheer inadequacy of the people who should be taking care of our interests.

    There were many cries yesterday about how this country needs its own President Trump. No its does not ! The USA got President Trump by voting for him. And if that is what people want then that is what they are going to have to do – either vote for a party that reflects their interests or, vote for a party that is NOT one of the BIG THREE. After all, its worked well for the USA.

  15. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    We need to get away from the GDP growth at all costs mindset. GDP per capita is more important but even that does not take account of environmental destruction and the contribution of unpaid carers and parents.

    GDP may well reduce if there are fewer consumers. That may not be such a bad thing.

  16. zorro
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Indeed, why is the Single Market this great shibboleth? Can Leave voters/MPs call out tge facts about UK economic performance before and after SM implementation. Barnier’s own report shows how anaemic an effect it has had on growth, and what about compliance/adherence set up/maintenance costs. Absolute nonsense when the vast majority of UK firms do not need to use it! It has hamstrung UK performance and that is why our performance ratio is so much better to non EU countries. This needs to be shouted from the rooftops but I have not heard T May say this once!

    zorro

  17. Pragmatist
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    “Customs union deal is really important for Yorkshire manufacturers,” Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee wrote on Twitter. “I hope this [Financial Times] story is right – up til now Govt has refused to even do an impact assessment on customs union.” ( Business Insider UK )
    Desperate and in Labour trying to fire off a shot. Commenting on made-up “sources” and made-up “news”. Better for the Ever-Moaning to change from a Party in which they do not fit, will never fit again and will accomplish zilch through lack of any power whatsoever except as a radical on a Parliamentary Committee, if voted so to do.
    Unborn in Yorkshire and with no Yorkshire credentials to speak of for Yorkshire

  18. Loudbarker
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Lib Dem’s take a council seat in Sunderland with 50% of the vote and 49% swing last night. Are Sunderland’s Nissan employees beginning to understand the consequences of Brexit for their jobs?

    • Andy
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Obviously many of their jobs will ultimately go. This has always been the case. Brexiteers voted to erect trade barriers with, by far, our biggest trading partner. Clearly it is not going to end well.

      • David Price
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        In 2016 the UK accounted for over 37% of Nissan sales in Europe and over 31% if you include Russia (Nissan Newsroom Europe). Unit Sales in the UK were double those of any other EU country and the new Leaf is expect to sell a lot more in the coming years.

        So why would jobs obviously go? Where is your evidence or any facts at all top back up such an assertion.

        The thing to bear in mind always is that there will be two internal markets after 2019 – the EU and the UK. Why should the EU get frictionless access to the UK market if they deny the same to theirs. In 2017 around 12% of VW EU unit sales were in the UK (208,462 CarMagazine), BMW 175,000, Audi 175,000, MB 181,000, Renault 70,000, Citroen 51,000.

        If the EU continues it’s line of punishment then I would imagine people will change their buying habits and would probably favour more friendly suppliers at the expense of all those in EU.

        • acorn
          Posted February 3, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          Nissan imports to many components. They have a “proof of origin” problem, is it actually a British made car. They need to get component makers to manufacture in the UK.

          • David Price
            Posted February 3, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

            Another anonymous, unsubstantiated opinion.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        When did Brexiteers “vote to errect trade barriers ” with the EU or anyone else?
        This is complete nonsense.
        Open frictionless trade with the EU and the rest of the world is what they have been promoting.
        Come on Andy, I can accept your position on the EU but not your blatantly incorrect comments.

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Only the EU wants to “erect trade barriers”. And for the worst of all reasons: politics.

        • Andy
          Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          No. You voted to erect trade barriers. The single market has rules. You voted against them. This is fine – but when you get comparatively poorer as a result (which you will) you have only yourselves to blame.

          The EU has been clear all along. It does not want additional barriers before. But 17.4m of the dimmest British voters voted for barriers anyway. Wail about it all you want. It’s what you voted for.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            Total nonsense.
            The Single Market is the one wanting to keep barriers.
            The UK position is to encourage open free international trade.
            What barriers have been proposed by the UK?
            Come Andy do tell us.

          • Iso
            Posted February 3, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            Sadly andy, these dimbrexiteers have no clue what they voted for. They think they can leave the club but still get free drinks at the bar

          • NickC
            Posted February 3, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            Andy, If the EU does not want trade barriers why doesn’t it just say so? Then we could have had a FTA registered with the WTO as a RTA 6 months ago.

            Ah ha I see what you want! You actually want the EU to complete its takeover of the UK, so that we just become an offshore region of the EU empire. It’s not free trade you want. But you are too frightened to be honest about your aims.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

            Currently Iso the club has 27 members all get free drinks but only nine pay anything.
            Yet all get a vote.
            Very odd club.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Loudbarker – your hypothesis is absurd. Reports indicate that there were 2,320 votes cast in total amongst five candidates.

    • Alison
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      No.
      Looks more like a flight from Labour, and a vigorous LibDem campaign. Massive swing (Lab->LibDem 32.4%). LibD overall+50%. Cons -7.2% and UKIP -24.7%.

    • Prigger
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Loudbarker
      No
      Turnout in this single Ward was less than one in three. The Labour Party seat which was lost was pro-EU. The number of people who voted for LibDems was
      1,251
      Accept the democratic will 0f the people who voted to leave the EU in their millions or leave our country and go live in a dictatorship. Better TRY to accept democracy and stop moaning.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Dear Loudbarker & Andy

      When will you people ever do any research into the rubbish you post?

      Dec 2017 production BEGAN on the new Nissan Leaf at the EXPANDED Sunderland factory

      Quote from Nissan

      The new Nissan Leaf has been supported by a further £36m investment in Nissan Sunderland Plant, supporting more than 2,000 new jobs at Nissan

      • Andy
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        And that Nissan investment last until around the end of 2021. At which point .. oh dear.

  19. Ian wragg
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    So now we have it. Civil Servants are determined we will continue in the Customs Union.
    Already Parliament is watering down immigration rules for EU citizens. We haven’t begun phase 2 and there’s a smell of capitulation already.
    As someone pointed out yesterday if the EU is so good why are they’re afraid of us leaving when we are to crash and.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Burn.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Well, at the bottom of all the muddle and deliberate obfuscation and outright lies about what actually took place here is what Charles Grant was recorded as saying at the meeting in question:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/steve-baker-brexit-minister-latest-updates-tape-recording-civil-servants-conspiracy-a8190001.html

      Including, with some minor corrections I have made to the subtitles:

      “Secondly, the Treasury’s determined to stay in the Customs Union … in private Treasury officials say ‘we know we’re going to stay in it during the transition’ in the hope that when we’re in the transition people will understand the economic costs of leaving are rather high and there is unpublished papers sitting in the Treasury that certain people are trying to get hold of under FOI requests showing that the economic costs of leaving the single market and Customs Union are much greater than the benefits of doing a trade agreement with every other country in the world”

      Apparently, assuming that the recording has not been edited.

      Reply PS re ;length. I do allow you long blogs when you make an interesting case, but I find it difficult handling more than one long blog a day even from you!

  20. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I’d fully support Hard Brexit (get back laws + control of borders etc) if we continued to pay to have full access to the single market.

    To suddenly not have full access to the single market would be a shock to our economy.

    Also, paying into the EU builds up the prosperity of Europe which directly benefits our economy. More importantly a prosperous Europe gets rid of social + political + economic chaos – chaos that gave rise to the Nazis, WW2, the IRA, Communism + socialism in Europe, the holocaust, coup d’états, dictators, WW1 and so on – all that seriously hampered our economy and British life in the 20th century. And there will always be global political problems facing us from Europe and its borders – maybe not the exact same, but problems all the same.

    Brexiters seem very silent on global politics and how the EU has, to an important degree, helped bring both prosperity + peace to Europe, making the UK more safe. And Brexiters are very silent about how the UK is going to face a global world on its own.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Apologies, i don’t mean to be a pain in the ass. But Brexit is a monumental decision and i want to do my small bit to make sure everyone has thought about everything. Everything has to be tested. As you would do with a business strategy, a military plan, whatever.

      I’ll stop commenting now. Thank you. And best wishes.

  21. am
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    It is a continuation of project fear mark1. But it is being led by the tory party. That is the party meant to implement brexit.

  22. Epikouros
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Joining a trading block normally confers tariff free access to many more customers and producers. Something that is only necessary because tariff free trade is not universal for reasons that only the perverse logic of protectionists can see the rhyme and reason behind that particular preference. However because protectionism is an almost universally accepted concept tariff free trading blocks(a sop to free traders) are not in essence as free as the the name would imply as standardisation and other rules and regulations at the behest of governments and their friends insists upon being incorporated into the new common market.

    This is especially true of the EU who do so with reckless abandonment being highly influenced by Germany and France, which is not surprising as the EU was conceived, designed and built primarily for their benefit. Under these conditions there never was and never can be any benefit to the UK of being a member. It offers nothing useful to the UK in terms of trade and and worst of all it impoverishes the UK financially, economically and politically. Anyone who states or purports to have evidence that the opposite is the case is either deluded or manipulating the truth.

  23. John
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Something M Barnier said the other day made the EU membership look even more daft.
    He said that the EU had never struck a services trade deal with anyone. So of the 40 or so trade deals they made sure French farmers and German car makers benefitted but with 80% of the UK economy being services not one deal taking our interests into account.

    We had absolutely no influence in the EU on trade as confirmed by Barnier.

    • Andy
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Trade deals, as a rule, do not include services. And this is because most countries are not interested in opening up their markets in services. They want to keep control of their own infrastructure, energy supplies and so on.

      The fact that you seem to think otherwise says it all. When it comes to trade Brexiteers – literally – have no clue. I really don’t want to get poorer as a result of YOUR Brexit but at least I can afford to get poorer. The irony is that many of the people who voted to get poorer won’t be able to afford it. Oh well … we can laugh at them instead.

      • NickC
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Andy, And I don’t want the UK being relegated to merely a region of the EU empire as a result of YOUR Remain. No country has become rich by being controlled by an empire. Our ex-colonies wanted independence and so do we, because we will be better off out, as they are.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Something I alluded to earlier. And the Swiss manage it for their F T As.

  24. Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The people who write these reports are like weather forecasters and financial advisors – they can say anything they like and not have to accept responsibility if they’re proved wrong.

  25. Blue and Gold
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear! There are a lot of sad people on this site, who are being/ have been, groomed by Project Deceit, orchestrated by the Far Right Establishment made up of Brexit MPs and tabloid (and I include the Torygraph ) newspaper editors.

    They hate the BBC, sneer at Remainers, hate the Public sector, and are quite clearly getting rattled by the realities of leaving the EU, and the fact that they are not having it all their own way. No hard Brexit, under EU rules until at least 2021, and best of all, in-fighting in the Conservative party which is always are great sport to watch. Long may it continue.

    Now I’m sure David Cameron called the referendum to stop all that!!

    • Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Now, Blue and Gold – if THAT wasn’t a sneer, then I don’t recognise one when I see it. I think the words are ”get over yourself”, calm down and look forward to all the good things that Brexit will bring, that YOU will share!

      • Blue and Gold
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Pathetic!!

        • NickC
          Posted February 3, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

          B&G, Pathetic!! Not Leaving is what the Remains want. Take responsibility for your Remain policies!!

  26. Mick
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Off topic
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/02/02/liam-fox-rules-uk-staying-form-customs-union-eu-brexit/#comments
    I’m getting pretty bloody cheesed off with the constant media coverage these traitors to democracy keep getting, if they don’t want to live in a free democratic society then bugger off to Europe and take all the other traitors with you, also it’s about time that yourself Mr Redwood got all these remoaners mps to state in the hoc if they or any of there families have anything to gain from staying in there beloved eu

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      My point proved!! Well done. Oh, and, mind your language, there is absolutely no need to be swearing….very immature.

      • Posted February 3, 2018 at 1:05 am | Permalink

        You’re definitely not from and have certainly not been educated in the Uk, as a Uk educated citizen, wouldn’t write or speak, how you have written your last piece for today.
        I think you’re from the eu itself, that would make perfect sense with the things that you write, so, tell us, why are you always negatively commenting on this blog?
        etc ed

        • Blue and Gold
          Posted February 3, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Utter, utter , rubbish!!

          • NickC
            Posted February 3, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            B&G, We voted Leave and we’re getting the BINO you Remains want. What are you complaining about?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear, Mick

    • Andy
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Ah – the cry of he dictator. ‘Traitor’ to anyone who dare disagree with him. Seriously.

      • NickC
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Andy, No, “traitor” is a well known English word commonly used to describe those who sell out their own country to a foreign power. Are you so entranced by your own Remain propaganda that you can’t even read a dictionary?

  27. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Good stuff Dr Redwood. Why isn’t Mrs May saying this?

    • Ian Greig
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Because Mrs May has to live in the real world, where behaving like a toddler shouting me me me gets you nowhere. The world does not care if Britain wants to go it alone

      • NickC
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Ian Greig, Clearly you are no democrat. Then again, as a Remain, you will be used to throwing your toys out of the pram.

  28. hans chr iversen
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Neither are there any disadvantages from remaining within teh EU customs union, Germany exports three times as much as we do to China and they ahve remained and will remain in the Customs union and continue exports growth to one of the largest growth markets in teh World.
    This is not about the EU this is about a UK which in a lot of sectors is not competitive enough , because unfortunately we have major skills gaps and , compared t a number of other OECD countries , as we are way down on teh scales in terms of competitive skills.

    This is not only about the EU, this is about us having to sort out our gaps in education, skills training, infra-structure, languages and more investments in our capital structure.

    These sort of challenges are not sorted overnight, it will take time

    • Edward2
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Germany does well partly because the Euro currency value gives it a 25% advantage compared to what would happen if it had a separate floating currency.

      In the customs union the UK would have no freedom to negotiate its own trade deals and it would be bound to all the ECJ rulings and would have no ability to control immigration from the EU.
      I regard all those things as disadvantages.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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