January 23, 2018

UK Decided to Quit Customs Union Without Full Analysis: Davis

06 December 2017, 01:52 | Taylor George

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Mr Davis said in June that the Government had "50, almost 60 sector analyses already done" on the impact of Brexit and in October said that work had been undertaken in "excruciating detail".

Quizzed by panel chairman Hilary Benn at a hearing of the Exiting the European Union Committee, Mr Davis said the United Kingdom government has examined the ramifications for United Kingdom industries from Brexit.

Mr Davis went on to reportedly tell the committee that they have been given sectoral analyses, which are different from impact assessments and look at different industries' make-up, size and involvement in the European market.

The Brexit Secretary made the admission during a grilling by the Commons Brexit Committee which had demanded the assessments were released by the Government after Mr Davis signalled they existed.

"The answer is no", Mr Benn pressed, to which Mr Davis agreed "no".

But asked by the Brexit select committee today whether he had conducted impact assessments on areas of the economy such as vehicle manufacturing or aerospace, Davis said: "No to all of them".

"Not that I'm aware of, no".

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"The assessment of that effect is not as straightforward as people imagine".

Mr Davis has previously acknowledged the existence of a series of papers setting out the expected impact of Brexit on different sectors.

As recently as October, Mr Davis told MPs that sectoral reports existed in "excruciating detail".

Ministers had argued that releasing the studies would undermine its negotiating position but Labour used parliamentary procedure to force the release of the documents.

Asked later about what work the government had done to plan for the possibility of leaving the European Union without a trade deal, Davis said this also did not include any impact assessment. When you have a paradigm change - as happened in 2008 with the financial crisis - all the models were wrong.

People seem to assume an impact assessment consists of a quantitative forecast.

Davis replied that there was no assessment on a "sector-by-sector basis". The Queen famously asked why did we not know.

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