The true impact is no impact

After much lobbying, it appears that the government has relented and will shortly release its studies on the impact of Brexit across various sectors of the economy. For many, this is a cause for celebration. But is it really?

It has already been suggested that the documents will be redacted. The official reason being this will help prevent the UK’s negotiating position from being undermined. This assumes of course that the EU has not carried out its own impact studies. There is nothing preventing them from hiring a research company to do so. Nothing underhand about that. If firms don’t want to respond, they wouldn’t have to. The same would go for the UK government research.

Even if they haven’t carried out research on UK organisations (for obvious reasons) the EU or Member States will have done so for their own industries anyway, so they will be well aware of trading relationships and how industries on either side would likely be affected.

But let’s assume the reports come out and they are not redacted in any way. They will most likely paint a far more positive picture of Brexit than many pundits would expect them to, because even if a report is ‘independent’, it is still bound by a particular agenda. And if the impact assessments indicate that Brexit will be a total disaster, Remainers will say “I told you so” and Leavers will cry foul. Positions are so firmly entrenched, it is very hard to believe that whatever the impact papers say, it will result in much of a change of opinion in either direction.


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