You have successfully emailed the post. Paul Johnson, the director of how is brexit going Institute for Fiscal Studies, says Brexit will be “damaging” to the UK economy. He says it “just has to make us worse off. How much worse off we don’t know.
Brexit is a tradeoff, he tells Business Insider, in which the country has to accept an economic hit in order to regain control over its borders. LONDON — Back in 2015, before the general election in the UK which returned prime minister David Cameron to Downing Street, The Guardian published a “list of the people that matter” in the runup to the vote. These were the individuals with voices so powerful they “will have a bearing on the result on polling day,” The Guardian said. Two years later and only Johnson and Sturgeon are still standing.
You’ve probably never heard of Johnson. But you are likely familiar with his work. Before every election, and after every UK government budget, the IFS presents an independent analysis of what it believes the actual effect of the parties’ economic promises will be. The prime minister and the leader of the opposition frequently cite IFS statistics at prime minister’s question time, which gives you an idea of the extent to which Johnson’s IFS shapes economic debate in the UK. With Europe’s finance ministers at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, Business Insider asked Johnson about the issue that will dominate their conversation: Brexit. Is there anything good about Brexit, we asked.
It’s hard to think of one. Some agriculture reforms perhaps, or tinkering around the edges of Britain’s financial regulations, he said. What Brexit is essentially about is making trade more difficult with our nearest, biggest and richest neighbour. That in the end, that is the economics of Brexit. We are withdrawing from a Single Market, presumably, and withdrawing from a customs union, presumably, and that just has to make us worse off. It might be a relatively small amount. Hopefully a good deal less traumatic than the financial crisis.
Johnson isn’t speaking as a “remoaner. He is trying to be independent, speaking purely as an economist. All economists, with one or two very ideologically aligned exceptions, all economists take the view that from an economic point of view Brexit is going to be damaging. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how damaging,” he says.