LeaveHQ, 17/12/2015  

Britain would be landed with £11bn in new tariffs if it left the EU and did not get a free trade agreement, according to the leader of the group campaigning to stay in. Lord Rose, who heads Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE), published research suggesting that the UK would have to begin trading with the EU using World Trade Organisation rules, which would cost businesses and consumers more.

This is of course the worst case scenario in the event of a total breakdown in EU-UK relations. We would challenge BSE to show us their risk assessment in this. Our preferred scenario is the Norway Option which sees us entering an Efta/EEA arrangement which is the most likely outcome given that it calls upon existing articles of law and offers the most expedient route out at minimal risk. It is our view that the EU will seek to take the path of least resistance in the knowledge that a recession for us means a recession for them too.

In fact, we would be looking at a very serious recession were we to see a breakdown in relations to the extent BSE claims - which would once again bring the Euro to crisis point. For that reason alone the EU will take every precaution to avoid it.

Lord Rose said that the campaigns arguing that Britain should leave the EU are proposing a specific deal: ending all budget contributions, ending free movement and repatriating economic regulations while retaining full access to the single market. This is entirely untrue. We propose no such thing. The premier Brexit plan in circulation, Flexcit, makes no such claims. Thus we are saying outright that Lord Rose is a liar if he is referring to us.

Lord Rose argues that “The [Leave Europe] campaigns’ proposals are a pipedream. They do not have a credible or achievable alternative which can replicate, let alone improve upon, the benefits the single market brings, and if they were to pursue their terms as currently proposed there would be a real risk of Britain leaving Europe with no trade deal at all” .

Except that we do not propose leaving the single market. We recognise that the EU is not the single market and we seek not only to remain within it but to expand it and democratise it by adopting UNECE as the forum for single market rulemaking. It's all in Flexcit - which Lord Rose has apparently not even read.

Rose further opines that “The cost of failure to secure a trade deal would be huge: family finances and Britain’s economy would be under threat. Britain would move to trading with the EU according to World Trade Organisation rules. The Britain Stronger in Europe campaign said this would be equivalent of £176 for every person and £426 for every household in Britain. The figure is based on UK imports from the EU at a value of £220bn, facing a tariff set at at a level of “most favoured nations”.

We're not going to argue. We can all play games with fag packet maths and nobody is any the wiser for it. All that need be said is that Rose is playing a game of hyping up the worst case scenario - a hypothesis that so unlikely it is barely worth considering. In order to avoid a collapse to this degree, an extension of the two year negotiating period would be agreed - and if it looked like total separation in one hit were infeasible then a compromise along the lines of the Australian relationship would be reached.

Rose's scenario is not likely because nobody wants it to happen, it does nobody any favours and every effort would be made to avoid it. The EU has many faults, but among them is not a deathwish. Rose's sole intention is to cloud the debate with panic and fear and does not enter this debate with honest intentions. We should dispose of his comments for what they are - naked propaganda.

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