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.
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” .
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
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.