Jonathan Freedland has insisted Brexit has left the UK facing a tougher time of the coronavirus pandemic due to the economic impact of leaving the European Union. The BBC presenter cited forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggesting the UK would experience weaker growth compared to the rest of the bloc. He called the aftermath of Brexit a “fiasco” as he lamented the “friction” new deals 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 implementing it.
“It’s a fiasco, it’s a disaster for the country.
“You have the government’s own office for fiscal responsibility which estimates that Brexit will reduce the country’s output, its GDP, by 4%, double the impact or damage of the pandemic.
“It was a self-inflicted wound and there is a reason why Britain is lagging behind in terms of growth now, after the immediate hit of the pandemic, compared to other countries in the European Union.”
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“It’s cost us a lot, the people involved, the support of the bureaucracy, the filling out of the forms, the checks that they now have to do…it’s a huge drag and it’s causing friction on the trade.”
He continued: “I have trouble seeing them [opportunities].
I do, it’s unusual because with these things, normally there’s kind of nuanced stuff.
“The arguments that have been made about state aid, we can support our industries – I look at the French and the Germans, they seem to be doing a good job there anyway.
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Chairman Richard Hughes said the forecast was based on the assumption that trade intensity would fall and the economy would become “less open”.
Mr Hughes said: “Trade as a share of GDP has fallen by around 12% since 2019, around two and a half times more than in any other G7 country.
“The overall volume of trade with the UK is down around 15% compared to what would have happened if we had remained in the EU, because we have made it more expensive to trade with our main trading partner. “