Source: The real numbers from the Institute for Fiscal Studies
BBB doesn’t usually bother with studies produced before the referendum because we live in a different world now, but we are prepared to make an exception for the Institute for Fiscal Studies. “Brexit and the UK’s Public Finances” is an 80-page report published in May 2016 and it has all the fundamental numbers that should have provided a basis for a good debate. It is a highly evenhanded document which acknowledges the strengths of some Brexit arguments: The mechanical effect of leaving the EU would be to strengthen the UK’s public finances by around £8 billion a year as a direct result of ending our net contribution to the EU’s budget.” However, the next sentence of its summary of conclusions will send shivers up the back of regions with high dependence on agri-food: ” Future governments might well also decide to spend somewhat less than the current £4 billion or so of EU money that goes to support agriculture and, to a smaller extent, poorer regions … ” But it notes that the budget gain would be completely wiped out by a fall in national income of just 0.6%. The only body to estimate a fall that low was “Economists for Brexit”: the consensus figure was closer to 6%. These numbers haven’t gone away, they still have relevance.