The U.K.s preferred Brexit outcome will cost the exchequer £615 million a week in lost revenue and all four scenarios laid out by the government would leave the country worse off, according to a study by the think tank Global Future published Wednesday.
The analysis used the governments own comprehensive assessment of the impact of Brexit, including the direct and indirect costs and benefits for public finances from likely increased barriers to trade as well as reduced contributions to the EU budget.
Under a “Norway model” of European Economic Area membership — where the U.K. would stay in the single market and adhere to EU rules and regulations but leave the customs union — the study predicts the fiscal impact on the U.K. would be £260 million a week. The highest net loss would occur if there is no deal, forcing the U.K. to trade with the EU on World Trade Organization terms. This scenario is estimated at £1.25 billion a week.
A Canada-style free-trade agreement — in which the U.K. could move away from EU regulations but most tariff barriers would be avoided — would amount to a net loss of £875 million a week.
The British governments preferred bespoke trade deal without single market or customs union membership would have a predicted negative fiscal impact of £615 million a week — amounting to 22 percent of what is spent on the National Health Services, according to the study.
One of the most controversial parts of the Brexit referendum was the claim by Leavers that £350 million a week would be saved by leaving the EU, and that money could instead be spent on the National Health Service. The claim was plastered all over a bus that toured the country. That figure was questioned by the likes of the U.K. Statistics Authority and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as well as the Remain camp. However, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in January that £350 million “grossly underestimated” the amount of money sent to the EU, which he said would rise to £438 million a week by the end of the transition period.