Pro-Brexit backbencher says dividend only possible with policy of free trade, reduced regulation and lower taxes
The UK economy could enjoy a post-Brexit financial dividend of £135bn in the five years after its departure from the EU, Jacob Rees-Mogg has said, an opinion that attracted a direct if brief endorsement from the Department for International Trade.
At a speech in London, the leading pro-Brexit backbencher lambasted what he called the “false assumptions” of Philip Hammond’s Treasury ahead of next week’s budget, insisting that leaving the EU would provide a huge economic boost.
In an apparent sign of government divisions over Brexit surfacing ahead of the budget, the trade department tweeted a link to an approving article about Rees-Mogg’s arguments from its official account.
Although the tweet was later deleted, the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, is a long-time ardent Brexiter whose views on the subject are generally seen as much closer to those of Rees-Mogg than Hammond.
Rees-Mogg, viewed by some as a possible contender for the Tory leadership if Theresa May falls, was speaking to introduce an alternative pre-Brexit budget put together by a group called Economists for Free Trade.
He endorsed the group’s alternative budget plan, which argues that a “clean” or hard Brexit – one which would put Britain outside the EU’s single market and customs union – would deliver a £135bn boost to the economy from 2020-25, and another £40bn a year after that.
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