Top Conservative MP David Davis is criticizing Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond over his pessimistic economic forecast, which appears to contradict the latest macro data.
Kristian Rouz — Former Brexit Secretary and Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden, David Davis, says Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is stirring Brexit fears. Davis said the chancellor is spreading inaccurate allegations of an impending economic downturn in Britain after it exits the EU next March.
Davis said Chancellor Hammond’s economic forecasts are “bogus” and are aimed at “frightening the population.” Hammond previously said the British GDP growth rate could drop into negative territory, whilst governmental borrowing could increase by £80 billion per year.
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In his Sun article, Davis dismissed such forecasts, pointing to the strength in British manufacturing and exports, and alleging Chancellor Hammond is “either spectacularly incompetent, or deliberate.”
“It was an attempt to frighten the population into imagining the most terrible consequences of leaving the European Union without a deal,” Davis wrote.
The former Brexit Secretary also questioned Hammond’s competence, saying his outlook, detailed in a letter to Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan, comes in “Treasury that has trouble forecasting deficits even 12 months ahead.”
Some of Davis’ fellow Tories have alleged Hammond’s forecasts fall in line with the Labour party’s agenda of promoting anti-Brexit sentiments and rallying support for a second referendum.
But Davis said Chancellor Hammond’s calculations might have immediate political consequences in the form of thwarting the Brexit process and jeopardizing the Conservative and Unionist cabinet.
“And even more disgraceful, by doing so it will undermine the government’s hand in striking a deal with the EU,” Davis wrote. “If they do not think we dare walk away, then they will give us the worst deal they can think of.”
The Haltemprice and Howden MP also pointed out the May cabinet’s current Brexit proposal is already offering significant concessions to the EU. The so-called Chequers proposal put forth by May several weeks ago prompted Davis and his fellow minister Boris Johnson to quit the government.
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Last week, current Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the Brexit deal with the EU could be reached by year’s end, suggesting a “no-deal” Brexit is an unlikely scenario. Hammond’s letter was released shortly thereafter, and some Tories — even those who support a deal with the EU — accused the chancellor of stirring up the clandestine “project Fear.”
Secretary Raab also commented of Hammond’s figures this past weekend.
“I’m always chary of any forecast because most of them have been proved to be wrong,” the Brexit Secretary said.
Meanwhile, the latest macroeconomic figures suggest the UK is outpacing the Eurozone in terms of economic growth — despite the claims that Brexit-related uncertainty is hurting the UK economy.
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Eurostat, the UK’s GDP growth rate stood at 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter between April and June, whilst the Eurozone grew by 0.3 percent during the same period.
“Britain is now approaching its own change. If we embrace it, Brexit can supercharge British technology and refocus minds on global trade,” British billionaire investor Sir James Dyson said. “The vast majority, 90 percent, of world trade is outside Europe.”
Moreover, the UK posted its largest budget surplus in 18 years last month, giving Chancellor Hammond — quite ironically, in the wake of his murky fiscal projections — additional resources to advance economic reforms aimed at boosting the UK’s sustainability in the face of possible headwinds.