‘Brexit is FIASCO’ BBC’s Freedland erupts at ‘self-inflicted wound’ over economy forecast

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Jonathan Freedland insisted Brexit had left the United Kingdom facing a harder time out of the coronavirus pandemic due to the economic impact of leaving the European Union. The BBC presenter cited forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility suggesting the UK would experience lower growth compared to the rest of the bloc. He branded the aftermath of Brexit “a fiasco” as he lamented the “friction” the new arrangements with the bloc had caused to trade.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5’s Nicky Campbell, Mr Freedman said: “I’m talking about the implications of the implementation of it.

“It’s a fiasco, it’s a disaster for the country.

“You have the Government’s own Office for Budget Responsibility estimating that Brexit will reduce the country’s output, its GDP, by 4 percent which is twice the impact or damage of the pandemic.

“This was a self-inflicted wound and there’s a reason why Britain is lagging behind in growth now, after the immediate hit of the pandemic, compared to other countries in the European Union.”

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“It has cost us a huge amount, people involved in it, supporting the bureaucracy, the form-filling, the checks they now have to do…this is a huge drag and it causes friction on trade.”

He continued: “I struggle to see them [opportunities].

I do, that’s unusual because with these things, normally, there are sort of quite nuanced.

“The arguments that were made about state aid, we can support our industries – I look at the French and Germans, they seem to be doing a pretty good job there anyway.

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“This notion of the vaccine rollout, we couldn’t have done that within the European Union…the best thing that can be said for Brexit is that we can mitigate it so it’s a bit like when we were still in the European Union.”

He added: “Unfortunately this was a terrible national mistake.”

The OBR in March forecasted Britain’s international trade will remain 15 percent less than when still in the European Union.

Chairman Richard Hughes said the forecast was based on the assumption the intensity of trade would fall and the economy would become “less open.”

Mr Hughes said: “Trade as a share of GDP has fallen by around 12 percent since 2019 which is about two-and-a-half times more than in any other G7 country.

“Overall UK trade volumes are down by about 15 percent compared to what would have happened if we had stayed in the EU, because we have made it more expensive to trade with our single largest trading partner.”

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