(Bloomberg) – Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt disputed the UK’s fiscal watchdog’s projection that Brexit will shrink the size of the economy, saying the split from the European Union could actually make Britain wealthier.
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“What I don’t accept is that the long-term impact of that decision will be to make us poorer,” Hunt said in an interview with Sky News on Thursday, when asked about the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast of a Brexit of 4 %. affected by a stay in the EU. “I don’t accept the 4%.”
Hunt said the projection does not take into account the potential benefits of regulatory reforms the UK government plans to implement, citing areas such as new medicines and artificial intelligence. His comments come at a time of growing evidence of the economic damage of Brexit – from higher trade barriers with the UK’s largest trading partner – and as Britons are showing signs of regret.
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“There are great opportunities for us to become much richer than we otherwise would have been,” HUnt said, adding that his goal is to make Britain the next Silicon Valley. “If you can set your own rules, you can do some of those things in a way that wouldn’t have been possible.”
Since the Brexit vote in 2016, the UK government has yet to make major legislative changes with significant benefits for businesses. Instead, companies have faced higher trade paperwork costs, a tighter labor market due to a decline in EU migration, and a weaker pound, driving up import costs. Brexit has also come at a political cost by exacerbating tensions in Northern Ireland and damaging diplomatic relations with the EU.
This week, Hunt said he wants to abide by the zero-tariff, zero-quota trade deal with the EU signed by Boris Johnson, dismissing reports that the UK is considering a closer Swiss-style relationship with the bloc.
“This is not the right deal for the UK,” Hunt told Sky when asked about the EU’s relationship with Switzerland, which is getting more market access in exchange for payments to the EU budget and other concessions. “We are going to pursue different rules as an independent, sovereign country.”
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