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Chancellor smears her advisers and denies Brexit will ‘poor’

Jeremy Hunt has refuted his own economic watchman’s predictions and has declared he does not accept a Brexit that will “poor us”.

In a recalcitrant interview, the chancellor was confronted with his watchdog’s analysis that leaving the EU would result in a loss of £100bn in manufacturing and £40bn in revenue by the end of the decade.

But Mr. Hunt, when asked about the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) analysis of the 4 percent decline in GDP, replied: “I don’t accept that 4 percent.”

When indicated that he accepts other OBR projections, he said, “I don’t have to accept all of them,” adding, “I accept all that I agree with.”

The chancellor acknowledged that the “transition” to a new trading relationship was causing “difficulties for some companies”, but argued that “the opportunities of Brexit” could overcome them.

“I do not accept the long-term impact of this decision [leaving the EU] will make us poorer,” he said Messages from heaven.

Mr Hunt insisted that “Brexit is not an issue” as the UK enters a projected recession of up to two years that will bring living standards back to 2013 levels.

Negotiating a closer trade relationship with Brussels – such as a “Swiss-style deal” that Rishi Sunak rejected this week – would prevent the UK from “becoming the world’s next Silicon Valley, which is my long-term plan”, he said.

The comments come after Michael Gove was criticized for not naming a single Brexit change that “made business easier” as criticism of the economic damage from the trade deal grows.

The leading exit campaigner instead pointed to Common Agricultural Policy reform and gene editing, as well as the freedom to make “our air cleaner, our soil more resilient.”

Mr Hunt claimed the “vast majority” of punitive cross-channel trade barriers could be removed in the coming years, but without explaining how.

The OBR consistently forecasts that the projected 15 percent drop in trade will result in a 4 percent fall in GDP over the medium term – twice the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the chancellor said Messages from heaven the loss is “what the OBR is projecting if we don’t do other things to seize the Brexit opportunities.”

He pointed to efforts to “invest in the skills of our own people, reduce pressure to migrate” as a policy to mitigate the damage – although net migration has reached a record high.

“We’re going to forge a different economy outside the European Union, high skills, high wages, the world’s next Silicon Valley and our own regulations,” Hunt said.

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