No deal is not better than a bad deal – that’s the verdict from politicians after technical papers were released revealing the impact it could have on the UK.
Technical papers released by the government warn that consumers could face a multimillion-pound hit and UK citizens living in Europe face the possibility of losing their pension.
Consumers would see a ‘likely increase’ in the cost of card payments between the UK and EU because cross-border payments would no longer be covered by a ‘surcharging ban’.
UK citizens living in Europe also face the possibility of losing access to their pension income and other financial services.
The technical papers cover preparations consumers and businesses should take in case the UK and EU cannot agree a deal before Britain leaves the trade bloc in March.
Campaigners from the People’s Vote have highlighted seven key findings from the 24 reports.
• There would be an unprecedented sudden increase in red tape for Britain’s trading businesses. Importers and exporters would face new costs through punitive tariffs, new administrative burdens, and new reporting duties. This will result in huge hikes in costs, which may be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The new burdens are likely to hit small and medium sized businesses disproportionately.
• The financial services industry, a cornerstone of the UK economy, would be extremely badly hit. Financial services would be unable to provide services on equal terms across Europe, and may have to open new offices in the EU after Brexit – a fundamental disruption of operations.
• UK workers would lose the right to claim compensation when companies go bust. Despite the Government’s promise that worker’s rights will be unaffected by Brexit, the impact assessments show UK employees of EU companies may lose their right to compensation in case of insolvency.
• The pharmaceutical industry would face an absurd scenario of having to register medicines twice. All new medicines would have to be double licensed – once in the UK and once in Europe. For pharmaceutical firms, this entails a huge amount of extra red tape and there is the danger that for some, it will not be worth the hassle to enter the much smaller UK market.
• Future generations would lose opportunities to study abroad, and universities would lose access to billions in research funding. The UK, under ‘no deal’ would drop out of the Erasmus programme, which provides our young people with the opportunity to live, study, and work abroad. And our proud universities would lose access to billions in EU funding which supports cutting-edge research in institutions across Britain.
• And the Government’s impact assessments provide absolutely no reassurance about how to resolve issues between the UK and Ireland in the event of ‘no deal’. Businesses and individuals would be asked to contact the Irish Government, rather than given the guarantees that communities on both sides of the border have been waiting for.
• It is also clear that the impact assessments do not truly plan for ‘no deal’. The Government’s plans rely on goodwill from EU countries and special agreements, to avoid the cataclysmic impact that a cliff-edge Brexit would have on our country.
Ben Bradshaw MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: ‘From border delays, to extra bureaucracy and red tape, to UK citizens potentially losing access to their pensions, today’s speech by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was full of new information about a disastrous no deal Brexit that no-one could have known about at the time of the referendum. This is not what anyone voted for.
‘We are in this shambolic situation because the Government has utterly failed to come up with a proposal that is acceptable to either the EU or even their own party. They have made a catastrophic mess of this process from start to finish and that’s we’re looking down the barrel of a disastrous no deal Brexit.
Labour MP Hilary Benn, who chairs the Commons Brexit committee, said that it proved no deal was far from being better than a bad deal.
‘Having wasted two years, these papers show exactly why no deal is unacceptable and why ministers must now ensure that an agreement is reached with the EU which provides a transition period and protects jobs, trade and investment.’