Jacob’s taking you for a ride... again
- Credit: Corbis via Getty Images
Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg now claim that leaving under WTO rules will actually make us richer.
They are taking us for fools again: they would have us believe that EU exporters would bear the full cost of UK tariffs on their goods.
In actual fact, a large proportion of that cost would effectively be passed on to us, British customers, simply because EU exporters would have no choice but to increase their prices to avoid making a loss.
Consequently it would not be us, but our government which would benefit, and at our expense: this would be like another tax, a stealth tax, on every Brit.
But let's look at the potential cost for us. Tariffs vary depending on items, so I'll have to simplify with an average percentage, say 10%.
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In 2016 we imported £320bn worth of goods from the EU. If the tariff suggested was slapped on those goods, the exchequer would get £320bn x 10% = £32bn. But if just half of this was recovered by EU exporters through increased prices, it means that effectively British customers would contribute £16bn of that £32bn.
There are 27 million households in this country, so each would then hand over an average of around £600 per year to the chancellor.
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So will individual Brits really be better off in a no-deal situation?
'Freedom' is the latest buzzword from Nigel Farage. That's what he says Brexit will give us.
But what does it mean? Imagine we all woke up absolutely free. Free from commitment, free from rules, free from responsibility. You would also be free from any relationship. It would be a lonely world.
In the context of a country or an individual, freedom doesn't exist. If you have any relationship with any country or individual, it involves commitment, mutual benefit and, if trading, adherence to other standards.
Europe gives us a strong relationship with others who share our values and allows us to trade and build partnerships. We are currently part of the process that creates those standards and defines the relationships. We can veto anything we don't agree with.
So what tangible benefits does Brexit give us? It will by no means give us any more freedom than we already enjoy.
What does this say about this government that it chooses to disregard the illegality of the Brexit campaign, rather than it following through with a UK form of the Mueller investigations?
Anneve Jane Barker
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