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Monday, September 12, 2016

Independence is another name for expensive isolation

Be careful what you wish for may well be the phrase that becomes most associated with the Brexiteers as yet another consequence of the leave vote becomes apparent.

The Independent reports that families have been warned of a possible £40 ‘holiday tax’ to travel to the EU as the price of Brexit. The paper describes this as a bombshell Government admission but really, what did they expect?

Home Secretary Amber Rudd revealed that a Brussels scheme that would require permission to be granted - and a fee paid - before departure could be adopted, saying “We don’t rule it out.”

The scheme is likely to be modelled on the visa waiver system introduced by the United States, which imposes a $14 charge (about £10.50) on every adult and child.

Condemning the ‘holiday tax’, Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary said: “Tory ministers might think nothing of that, but it would make it even harder for ordinary families to afford a holiday.”

The warning came after Ms Rudd was asked about a Brussels plan for a US-style visa waiver system and its impact on the UK after it leaves the European Union.

Ms Rudd admitted British people would be “surprised” to learn the free-and-easy travel to the EU they have enjoyed for decades is now in peril.

What this demonstrates is how little was understood about the decision to leave the EU. We cannot be part of a free market zone without freedom of movement and if we insist on border controls then it will mean that those wishing to holiday abroad will find it more expensive and more bureaucratic to do so.

Those who said that we needed to reassert our independence as a country forgot to mention that the consequent splendid isolation has a price.
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