Brexit: Government analysis published after long battle

MPs and campaigners seem disappointed with the documents

Jon Stone
Europe Correspondent
Thursday 21 December 2017 13:53
The UK has not conducted a Brexit impact assessment on any sector, says David Davis

Parliament’s Brexit committee has published 39 of the Government’s sectoral analyses on the impact of leaving the EU on the British economy.

The reports, which Brexit Secretary David Davis had previous said held “excruciating detail” of the departure’s effects, were immediately dismissed by MPs and campaigners as a “shoddy mess” with little detail.

The Committee obtained the documents, touted by Mr Davis, after using a longstanding power to demand government papers. Mr Davis later drew a distinction between impact assessments, which he said did not exist, and “sectoral analyses”, which are more limited in scope.

Labour MP Seema Malhotra, who sits on the committee, said the reports “fall far short of the impact analysis the government implied it was doing a year ago”.

“It remains unclear if these are the original reports or have been written in the last two months,” she added.

The analyses cover aerospace, agriculture, asset management, the automotive sector, aviation, broadcaster, chemicals, construction, consumer goods, creative industries, defence, electricity, electronics, environmental sciences, fintech, fisheries, gambling, the gas market, higher education, insurance and pensions, life sciences, ports, medical services, the nuclear industry, oil production, payments services, post, professional and business services, rail, real estate, retail, retail banking, road haulage, space, steel, ICT, telecoms, tourism, and the wholesale market.

Exiting the EU Committee chairman Hilary Benn said: “After providing this material to the committee, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union told us on December 6 that the Government have not undertaken any impact assessments on the implications of leaving the EU for different sectors of the British economy, but that what he had sent consisted of a number of sectoral analyses with certain material held back.

“Since that evidence session, we have sought to clarify with the Secretary of State whether there is any specific material in the documents provided that he would prefer the committee not to publish on the grounds that it is commercially, market or negotiation-sensitive information.

“In light of his response, the committee has today decided to publish this material provided to us by the Department (for Exiting the EU)."

Commenting, Best for Britain CEO Eloise Todd said: “These reports are the most useless and shoddy piece of work a government department has ever produced. Even the Iraq Dodgy Dossier had some useful information in it.

“These are a shoddy mess that a sixteen year old wouldn't be proud of. It is a masterclass in copy and paste.

“David Davis has been shown up for the charlatan he is. He needs to consider his position.

A DExEU spokesperson said:

"Our analysis is not, nor has it ever been, a series of impact assessments examining the quantitative impact of the UK’s EU exit on the 58 sectors.

"As our analysis does not exist in the form Parliament requested, we took time to bring together information in a way that met Parliament’s specific ask.

"We are undertaking a comprehensive programme of analytical work. These reports are a part of that. They are not exhaustive, nor are they the final say on any of these issues.

"Ministers have a specific responsibility, which Parliament has endorsed, not to release information that would undermine our negotiating position."

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