Chancellor Javid: Treasury ‘Turbocharging Preparations’ for No Deal Brexit

Boris
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Sajid Javid, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, says there “should be no doubt” that Britain is leaving the European Union on October 31st, and that Her Majesty’s Treasury is now “turbocharging” its preparations for a No Deal Brexit in case the bloc refuses to improve on the deal it offered Theresa May.

Mr Javid’s approach contrasts starkly with that of his predecessor as Britain’s ad hoc finance minister, Phillip ‘Remainer Phil’ Hammond, who favoured an ultra-soft Brexit-in-name-only, or BRINO, which would have left the country subject to the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market regime, and was regularly accused of refusing to release funds for No Deal contingency planning in order to render it unviable.

“In 95 days we will leave the EU. Of that there should be no doubt,” the Chancellor wrote in an article for the Telegraph, in an apparent effort to reassure Brexit voters previously assured no less than 108 times that the United Kingdom would be out of the European Union on March 29th, but ultimately let down.

“Yes, we want to leave with a good deal – one that abolishes the undemocratic backstop… But, we should not shy away from the fact that currently the EU is refusing to make any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement,” Javid explained.

“That is why this government is turbocharging preparations to leave with no deal… And that is why I have ordered an immediate stepping up of no deal preparations in the Treasury,” he added.

“In my first day in office as Chancellor, I tasked officials to urgently identify where more money needs to be invested to get Britain fully ready to leave on October 31st – deal or no deal. And next week I will be announcing significant extra funding to do just that.”

Chancellor Javid indicated that some priorities had already been identified, and that he would be looking to recruit 500 extra Border Force officers and launch “a major nationwide communications campaign” to get people and business No Deal ready in time for the deadline.

He was also clear that an economic strategy was being prepared not only to mitigate the short-term disruption of a No Deal, but to take advantages of the opportunities it would bring — given No Deal would leave Britain with few obligations to the EU and maximum freedom of action on taxation, trade, compeition, state aid, and more, as well as the return of EU-controlled national resources such as fisheries.

Like Hammond, the 49-year-old son of Pakistani migrants originally backed Remain in the 2016 referendum, but far more reluctantly than most, telling voters he would be voting Remain with “a heavy heart and no enthusiasm” as it was “clear now that the United Kingdom should never have joined the European Union” in the first place — but that, on balance, leaving was “too risky” after four decades of economic entanglement with the bloc.

“For me, this referendum does not have to be a once-in-a-generation event. The fight for reform is not over and if Brussels fails to recognise that, I can see a time when walking away may be the right thing to do – but in a more benign global economic environment and under a UK Government that makes a credible case for leaving,” he wrote in 2016.

With the EU having not only failed to reform but proceeded further down the track of bureaucratic centralisation since the Brexit vote, and the Remainer-led administrations of David Cameron and Theresa May now finally replaced by a Leaver-led administration enthusiastic about Brexit, it may be that Javid’s conversion to the Brexit cause is genuine.

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