UK will become a 'VHS economy' by aligning with EU, Michael Gove warns

Posted On: 
23rd January 2018

The UK risks becoming a "VHS economy" if it listens to big business and pursues continued regulatory alignment with the EU, Michael Gove has reportedly warned colleagues.

Michael Gove is reportedly among ministers calling for a 'low alignment' model after Brexit

The Environment Secretary argued that the UK needed flexibility to adapt to the kind of new business that would shape the economy in years to come, according to the Daily Telegraph.

It follows calls from business group the CBI for the Government to look at staying in both the single market and the customs union after Brexit - a move already repeatedly ruled out by Theresa May. 

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Previous reports suggest the Cabinet is split between those such as Mr Gove and Boris Johnson who want a high degree of divergence from the EU after Brexit, and others such as Philip Hammond who want to keep the same regulations and diverge in certain areas.  

An unnamed Cabinet minister told the paper: "Hammond, with the back-up of other Remain ministers, was making the case for 'high-alignment' on the basis that big business was lobbying for this, and that was what they need.

"Michael made the point that if we did that in 2000 we would have built our economy on the basis of what IBM wants. Since then Facebook, Google and other tech giants have emerged as the biggest companies in the World.

"When the Tories came into power in 2010 some of these companies like Uber didn't even exist. What does that mean for our economy in five to 10 years time? He said that we're developing a VHS economy. We need flexibility with the ability to diverge. We need a low-level of alignment."

Elsewhere, Mr Johnson is reported to be planning a fresh push on NHS funding when he meets ministerial colleagues this morning. 

The Guardian reports that the Foreign Secretary will make the case once more for an extra £100m for the health service in a bid to neutralise Labour's advantage on the issue.