No-deal Brexit would shrink economy and put thousands of UK jobs at risk, CBI chief warns

Posted On: 
11th January 2019

Britian's economy would shrink by up to 8% in the event of a no-deal Brexit, putting thousands of jobs at risk, the head of the country's biggest business group is to warn.

Carolyn Fairbairn is head of the CBI.
PA Images

According to The Guardian, CBI boss Carolyn Fairbairn will say that the economic consequences of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place would be "profound, widespread and lasting".

Her comments, at a meeting of business leader in Bristol, come just four days before MPs vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal, with a BBC projection claiming that she could be heading for a 228-vote defeat, the heaviest government loss in modern politics.

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In her speech, Ms Fairbairn will say: "Next week, they [MPs] face a test. If they meet it with yet more brinkmanship, the whole country could face a no-deal, disorderly Brexit. The economic consequences would be profound, widespread and lasting. GDP would decline by up to 8%, meaning less money for our public services and those who rely on them.

"Businesses would face new costs and tariffs. Our ports would be disrupted, separating firms from the parts they need to supply their customers."

She will add: "It’s too big a gamble to simply hope that Parliament will blink at the brink".

Her warning comes after Business Secretary was rebuked by Downing Street for claiming that a no-deal Brexit would be a "disaster".

He said: "I would always work and fight to make sure that the policy of the Government is to have a good deal and to avoid what I think would be a disaster which would be no deal."

But a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "Those are not words the PM has used.”

And further exposing Cabinet splits on the issue, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said Britain had nothing to fear from a no-deal Brexit.

He said: "We can be optimistic and confident. Whatever is our future Britain will succeed and do incredibly well."