Leaked government analysis says UK will be worse off under any Brexit scenario
The Government's own analysis has forecast the UK economy will be worse off under every possible Brexit scenario.
A closely guarded Brexit impact analysis leaked to Buzzfeed News estimates that even if the Government opted to stay in the single market and customs union, there would be a 2% hit to growth over a 15-year period.
With a comprehensive free trade agreement, the impact is forecast as a 5% drop in growth, while a 'no deal' outcome would see a whopping 8% knocked off growth over the same period of time.
The paper, which has been drawn up by the Department for Exiting the EU, claims that every sector of the British economy will suffer due to Brexit - the only exception being farming if the Government opts to adopt World Trade Organisation rules.
It also warns of an impact on the City of London, even if a free trade deal is agreed, and that all regions of the UK are likely to take a hit. The worst affected areas, the analysis claims, would be the north-east, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland.
The leaking of the document is a blow to Whitehall officials, who had reportedly tried to keep it under wraps ahead of one-to-one presentations to senior ministers this week.
A government source played down the findings, saying the paper was an "early draft" and did not take account of the bespoke deal that Theresa May is aiming for with Brussels.
"It also contains a significant number of caveats and is hugely dependent on a wide range of assumptions which demonstrate that significantly more work needs to be carried out to make use of this analysis and draw out conclusions,” the source added.
However a separate source in the Brexit department told Buzzfeed the report was not being made public "because it's embarrassing".
Labour MP Chris Leslie, a supporter of the pro-EU group Open Britain, said the paper showed the Government should change tack.
“It’s little wonder the Government has repeatedly refused to publish any serious Brexit analysis," he said.
"Their own impact assessments underline what has long been obvious, that their reckless plan to crash out of the Single Market and the Customs Union will leave us all much worse off."