Rishi Sunak denies Brexit to blame for UK’s economic woes

Ukraine war and Covid pandemic are ‘overwhelming’ reasons for downturn, says PM

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor, in Bali
Wednesday 16 November 2022 09:48 GMT
Rishi Sunak blames ‘Russia's invasion of Ukraine’ for global economic instability

Rishi Sunak has effectively denied that Brexit is to blame for the UK’s economic difficulties, despite increasing evidence that EU withdrawal has resulted in a reduction in trade with Britain’s closest partners.

The prime minister instead pointed the finger of blame at the Covid pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

While admitting that all countries have “idiosyncratic” factors affecting their growth, Sunak was unwilling at a press conference in Indonesia to concede that Brexit played this part in adding to the UK’s economic woes.

In a press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Bali, Mr Sunak was asked whether he accepted that Brexit was in any way a cause of the economic difficulties which are this week forcing him to raise taxes and cut spending in a bid to rein in soaring inflation.

He replied: "Two-thirds of the global economy - of G20 members - are seeing inflation rates above 7 per cent. The IMF thinks a third of the global economy either is or will be in recession. That is the global context.

“That’s what’s dominated the conversations I’ve been having here and we know why that is. It’s the legacy of Covid and it’s - of course - what Putin is doing, which is driving up energy prices and indeed food prices.

“That’s the global economic context and I think that is what’s dominating what’s happening in every country.

“Every country is going to have idiosyncratic things, but those are the overwhelming dominating factors that are leading to the economic challenge that we’re facing at the moment."

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