The Government has been accused of refusing to publish more than 50 “secret” studies in the impact of Brexit – for fear they could cause embarrassment to ministers.
Brexit minister David Jones confirmed in a letter that the Department for Exiting the European Union had “conducted analysis of over 50 sector of the economy”.
But ministers are so far resisting calls to publish the findings of the investigations in full – arguing that some findings “would undermine the Government’s ability to negotiate the best deal for Britain” were they made public.
It comes after one leaked piece of research by the Department of Health found that Brexit could cause a shortage of more than 40,000 nurses by 2026.
Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato, who wrote to ministers about the studies, said: “The only reason they wouldn’t publish these studies is because they reveal what they don’t want people to hear: that a hard Brexit will be a disaster for our economy, for our environmental standards and for our workers’ rights.
“I wrote to David Davis to highlight some of the deep concerns around the uncertainties facing the South West of England. I wanted to know what studies the government has commissioned on the impact of a hard Brexit on the livelihoods of the people living in this region, especially in regard to agriculture. What I got in response were platitudes and further evasion. This is completely unacceptable.
“We know this government has undertaken studies, including the leaked Department of Health research that shows how our nursing provision will be devastated by a hard Brexit. We don’t know what other studies the government have done because they won’t tell us, but we do know they have carried out analysis of over 50 sectors.
“It is time for the government to come clean and tell us what the results of these studies were. If they don’t, it will just fuel the growing uncertainties and concerns people have over this government’s hard Brexit folly.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the EU referred The Independent to comments by Brexit minister Robin Walker from June this year. Mr Walker had said that the impact of Brexit on certain sector was being examined and a list of the studies would be published – but not their contents.
“The Department for Exiting the European Union, working with officials across Government, continues to undertake a wide range of analysis to support our negotiations,” the minister had said.
“Our work covers the breadth of the UK economy, and we are looking in detail at more than 50 sectors as well as areas of cross-cutting regulation. Parliament has agreed that we will not publish anything that would undermine the Government’s ability to negotiate the best deal for Britain.
“Now, that the Prime Minister has initiated the Article 50 process and negotiations have begun in earnest, I can confirm that we will shortly be publishing the list of sectors we have been examining – though this of course does not mean that we have changed our position on revealing information which may harm our negotiating position.”
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