Wednesday 1 March 2023

How to achieve becoming ‘the world’s most exciting economic zone’?

Well, according to PM Rishi Sunak get ‘‘privileged access’ to EU single market

In his desperation to get the DUP and the Tory euro sceptics to support the Windsor Agreement Sunak has got very over excited and thereby inadvertently' but quite unbelievably, has let the cat out of the bag.

The event in Windsor was rather effusive and the warmth of feeling between them was palpable. Sunak and von der Leyen (EU President) know each other well from their years in Stanford University, USA. Hence her addressing him  ' dear Rishi'.

Northern Ireland he said is in a unique position of the entire world –‘having privileged access not just to the UK home market, the fifth biggest in the world, but also the EU single market.’

Sunak went on:

 ‘’ Nobody else has that. No one – only you guys only here...I can tell you, when I go around the world and talk to businesses, they say: ‘That’s interesting’’.

 ‘’It’s like the world’s most exciting economic zone.”

 The irony is of course that before Brexit all of U.K. benefited from this ‘privileged access’.

 The question now for him and indeed the leader of the Labour party, Keir Starmer, is why not extend this ‘fantastic deal’ to the rest of the U.K.?

 Instead over three years the Tory government has erected immense barriers to trade between the UK and the EU. Its impacting on imports and exports, hurting investment and has contributed to significant labour shortages in several sectors of the economy. A whole range of businesses farmers, fishermen, across Britain have had to cope with all sorts of trade barriers, form filling and red tape.

 The economy has already taken a hit and businesses have suffered, losing trade and business opportunities.

 Studies show that by the end of 2022 the UK economy was 5% (£31bn) smaller than if the UK had not left the single market. The Office for Budget Responsibility says Brexit will have a long-term effect of cutting UK GDP by 4%. The Financial Times says such a decline amounts to £100bn in lost output and £40bn less revenue to the Treasury

So, the PM having opened Pandora’s box, it is now time to redouble the effort to re-join the single market so all the nations of the U.K. can achieve this ‘privileged access’’ to the huge EU market.

Time was of course that Sunak extolled the virtues of the Northern Ireland Protocol deal negotiated by Boris Johnson claiming that Brexit depended on it. Anything else would have been a sell out. For three years he saw nothing negative with the deal.

In the House of Commons on Monday however he boasted how he had managed to change the protocol highlighting in detail what had been wrong with the 2019 deal. More or less admitting it all had been a rubbish idea from the outset.

But that’s politics I suppose.