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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Leave continue their fantasy campaign

In the Guardian Tim Farron quite rightly challenges the latest fantasies from the pro-leave group Change Britain, who have failed to learn lessons from the lies told during the referendum campaign and are claiming that a “clean Brexit”, leaving both the single market and customs union, could save Britain £450m a week.

The paper says that Change Britain, the successor organisation to Vote Leave, which is backed by former cabinet minister Michael Gove, Labour’s Gisela Stuart and the former Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson, released research on Tuesday arguing that a clean break with the EU would be more beneficial to the economy than a soft Brexit.

This is despite the much-discredited claim back in June in which the same bunch of numpties said that leaving the EU could save £350m a week for the NHS. That has turned out to be nonsense as will this latest so-called research.

This is not just me saying this. As the paper reports the former chief economist at the Cabinet Office Jonathan Portes has questioned the methodology. He said that the £450m figure was arrived at by adding together supposed savings that could not be compared:

“Adding increased exports and reduced government expenditure is literally meaningless. The results mean nothing. It isn’t research, it’s junk,” he said.

Another problem with the calculation was counting the benefit of trade deals with countries such as South Korea that already have an agreement with the EU, Portes said.

“But to my mind that is second order. Anybody who adds together increased government revenue literally has no idea what they are doing ... It’s no surprise people who backed the fictitious £350m figure also back this number,” he said.

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, also rejected the numbers as “fantasy figures” that no one would believe after Vote Leave’s claims.

“Today’s claims are just the latest in a procession of lies pushed out by the usual suspects who are desperate for a hard Brexit that will rip Britain out of the single market,” he said.

“Leave campaigners spent weeks gallivanting around the UK in a big red bus with a promise of more money for our NHS emblazoned on the side; it was a clear promise to British public who were told that lie over and over again.

“It played on people’s legitimate fears about this government’s underfunding of the NHS. The lie that a leave vote would mean more money for the NHS each week was a disgracefully cynical ploy.

“To now present the public with an even bigger made-up number is shameless and these scaremongers should take a look at themselves in the mirror.”

Surely it is time that we had an idea of what the UK Government is actually going to do in response to the referendum result so we can work out the real cost of Brexit.
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