Electricity is important for light and heating, Brexit reports reveal

Brexit secretary David Davis

The Brexit department has been mocked after publishing 'sectoral analyses' revealing that electricity is vital for light and heating, fishing is important to coastal communities and postal services are used to supply goods.

The reports also explain what an aeroplane is and how they are useful for conducting trade between countries, and features some sections which appear to have been lifted wholesale from Wikipedia.

In the report on electricity, published as written evidence on the Brexit department's website yesterday, it notes: "Electricity is a fundamental part of modern society. Residential and industrial users rely on its use to ensure basic and vital needs such as lighting, heating or refrigeration are met on a daily basis."

It footnotes Office for National Statistics data which reveal "that every sector in the economy depends on the availability of electricity to operate".

The findings were mocked on Twitter by Duncan Weldon, head of research at the Resolution Group, with hundreds more joining to compare the analyses to, among others, the Janet and John series of children's books.

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Elsewhere, the analyses by Brexit secretary David Davis' department show that "in coastal communities fishing brings employment and economic activity (fishing along with its ancillary industries e.g. fish processing, boat building and servicing)."

It divulges that "postal services are visible and valued by both members of the public and businesses. The postal service is an enabler of trade: companies of all sizes use it to build their business, supply goods and receive payment".

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And the section on aviation finds that "aviation connectivity enables foreign market access to UK firms and UK market access to foreign firms, thereby promoting trade and outward/inward investment."

Mr Weldon tweeted: "These only make sense on any level if the civil service assumed that ministers had never heard of electricity/fishing/ports/post before."

I mean... these only make sense on any level if the civil service assumed that ministers had never heard of electricity/fishing/ports/post before.

-- Duncan Weldon (@DuncanWeldon) December 21, 2017

Other sections look copied from elsewhere. The section explaining the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation is almost word-for-word that on its Wikipedia section. Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith, who spotted the similarity, said: "Reading through the Brexit sectoral 'analysis' on defence. As a former teacher, I know a copy-and-paste job when I see one."

In his letter to Brexit Select Committee chair Hilary Benn earlier this month, Mr Davis said the analyses represented "the most comprehensive picture of our economy on this issue to date".

Mr Davis recently claimed he did not have to be very clever to do his job.

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