The U.K. will be worse off after leaving the European Union in every likely scenario, according to a secret report prepared by the British government and published by BuzzFeed Monday.
The analysis examined the three most plausible scenarios for the U.K.’s departure — a comprehensive free-trade deal with the EU, a no-deal Brexit, and a soft Brexit with continued membership in the European Economic Area and the single market — and found that under each, Britain would be worse off in 15 years than if it remained in the bloc.
A no-deal Brexit, in which Britain would trade with the EU on World Trade Organization terms, would reduce growth by 8 percent compared with current projections, a Canada-style free-trade agreement by 5 percent and staying in the single market by 2 percent. Every region in the U.K. would be negatively affected in all the scenarios. Free-trade deals with other countries would not offset the lost growth, according to the report, with a boost of just 0.2 percent over 15 years from a deal with the U.S.
According to the report, almost all sectors of the economy analyzed would be negatively impacted in all the scenarios, with the hardest hit including manufacturing, food and drink, cars and retail. Only the agricultural sector would not be adversely affected in a no-deal Brexit.
The analysis was prepared this month by government officials for the U.K.’s Department for Exiting the European Union and was supposed to remain confidential.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna called the report “utterly damning” on Twitter.
Pro-Brexit Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC’s Today program that the report should be taken “with a pinch of salt” because “almost every single forecast coming from government and most international organizations has been wrong.”
“We should just push it to one side and say yet another report, not complete, not overseen by the government,” Duncan Smith said. “It’s deliberately leaked because it gives a bad view.”
A government official confirmed the document was legitimate to POLITICO, but said the deal Prime Minister Theresa May is pushing for — including financial services and replicating many EU membership benefits — was not examined.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has dismissed this option, saying: “There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services. It doesn’t exist.”
Jack Blanchard contributed reporting.