And the people, with their characteristic good sense, are right...
JACOB REES-MOGG No Deal Brexit is NO big deal — we could have £39bn in our pockets and free-flowing trade
By Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North East Somerset
30th May 2019
VOTERS have consistently rejected Project Fear and this has been shown once again by the European Parliamentary results.
The sheer enthusiasm of Brexit Party voters for leaving cleanly no later than October 31 and their frustration that the United Kingdom is still in the European Union proved that we are not a nation to be cowed.
Voters have consistently rejected Project Fear and embraced the idea of a No Deal Brexit, writes Jacob Rees-Mogg
Even if Theresa May never really believed it, the nation took to heart her message that No Deal is better than a bad deal.
And the people, with their characteristic good sense, are right.
Fortunately, there is no legal obligation, as set out in the House of Lords report, to pay the EU any money at all if we leave without a deal.
That means we have £39billion to spend on our priorities rather than squandering it on the EU’s wasteful and consistently unaudited budget.
This could be used for tax cuts to encourage business investment. The rates burden could be reduced or stamp duty cut.
There may even be some room for expenditure in pressing areas such as social care for the elderly or helping the hard-pressed police.
£39billion is a serious amount of money which could have a significant domestic effect rather than being little more than overseas aid for rich countries.
Then we could trade with the EU on the basis of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This provides a framework for treating countries fairly. The UK, in spite of allowing the EU to represent our interests in recent years, has always been a founder member, and as soon as we have left we may resume our rightful place.
The WTO allows nations to set tariffs that will then be applied to all other members in the absence of specific free trade deals.
The concept of “most favoured nation” means that it is unlawful to discriminate against one country.
The effect of this is that the EU could not charge higher tariffs against us than it does on goods from the United States.
As the US has seen its trade with the EU grow faster since the introduction of the Single Market than the UK’s has, it is clearly no barrier to successful business.
Likewise, the UK would have to levy the same payments on EU goods as we do on others — and here we would have a choice.
Would we want to lower tariffs generally, cutting the cost of goods for consumers, or keep the protectionist barriers that make Europe so expensive?
It seems obvious that we ought to cut tariffs to improve living standards, *especially for the least well-off in society, allowing them to have more money to save or spend.
Historically, nations that have cut the cost of imports have become more prosperous and there are non-tariff barriers that the EU imposes purely to protect inefficient continental industries that could also be removed.
Against this opportunity there are many myths that have grown up, fed and watered by those who never wanted to leave the EU.
First, they say that the WTO has other agreements tacked on — over 100 with the US alone — and without them trade would stall.
This is a misunderstanding.
These add-ons include treaties such as the Paris Climate Accord which are not trade-related.
Only about 30 have any trade relevance of which only one is important and it has already been rolled over.
As they are purely technical, rolling them over is not difficult as has already been shown.
Other doomsters say that just-in-time delivery cannot work under WTO — which is odd, as it already does.
What matters for these processes is certainty of delivery times.
The six seconds that it takes goods to clear customs in Southampton on average is insignificant compared to potential delays on the M25 which businesses already have to contend with.
The UK already trades extensively and successfully on a WTO basis so *extending it to the EU would not be problematic.
The paranoid and the scaredy-cats also moan that more checks would have to be made, but again that is incorrect.
Jon Thompson, the chief executive of Customs and Excise, confirmed that delays would be no worse than they currently are for imports.
There is no WTO rule to create inefficiencies. The purpose of the organisation is the reverse. The system of cross-border trade is not that which people imagine from watching 1960s spy films.
In addition, both Calais and Dover, the only real pinch points, are both prepared and ready for No Deal.
As for Ireland, the simple question remains: Who is going to build the wall?
There will be no hard border because no one wants one and that has always been the simple answer to a much over-complicated question.
In truth the fears are like the supposed Millennium Bug, a fantasy of fevered minds.
After all, with £39billion, free-flowing trade and cheaper imports, as former Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Lilley has said: “It is not crashing out, it is cashing in.”
Historically, nations that have cut the cost of of imports have prosperedCredit: AFP