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Extension to Brexit bill could cost £378bn warns think tank as UK increases planning for no-deal

A think-tank has warned that an extension to the Brexit bill could cost the UK an eye-watering £378billion, as the country increases planning for no-deal after trade talks with the EU stalled last week.

The figure comes from a report by the the Centre for Brexit Policy, who also conducted a poll that said almost half of Britons believe extending the transition period would leave the country locked into the EU for the foreseeable future. 

The poll, conducted by Savanta ComRes, showed that 46 per cent of people thought an extension beyond December 31 with lead to ‘further extensions’, as reported by the Sunday Telegraph. 

The UK left the EU at the end of January but is currently in a transition period until December 31.  The transition period was designed to give the two sides time to hammer out the details of their future trading relationship.

After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Boris Johnson has been under pressure to extend the transition extension – which can be up to two years – but No10 has been adamant there should be no delay.

The stalled third round of negotiations last week have added fuel to the fire that a deal will not be reached by the end of the year, and the country will crash out with no deal.

David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, has already warned Cabinet that Brussels talks – that resume again in June – are heading for collapse and said that no deal is looming.  

David Frost, Britain's chief negotiator, has already warned Cabinet that Brussels talks - that resume again in June - are heading for collapse and said that no deal is looming

David Frost, Britain's chief negotiator, has already warned Cabinet that Brussels talks - that resume again in June - are heading for collapse and said that no deal is looming

David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, has already warned Cabinet that Brussels talks – that resume again in June – are heading for collapse and said that no deal is looming

Downing Street is preparing to issue warnings that the UK is heading for an ‘Australia-style deal’ with the EU – which in reality means No Deal and tariffs on imported and exported goods under terms set by the World Trade Organisation. 

The lowered expectations of securing a trading deal with the EU is reflected in some civil servants now being pulled away from coronavirus work, and shifted back onto preparations for a no-deal Brexit, as reported by the Sunday Times.

The no-deal committee, that is chaired by Michael Gove, met twice at the start of May.

Officials have said the XO (exit operations) group will now sit more regularly as trade deals stalled.

The government’s XO (exit operations) no-deal planning committee, chaired by Michael Gove, met twice in one week at the start of May and senior officials say it will now sit regularly to prepare for the prospect that no trade deal is struck. 

A source told the newspaper:  XO is moving to a more regular rhythm over the next week or so,’ a source said. 

Last week Michel Barnier warned the bloc will not ‘bargain away our values for the benefit of the British economy’.

Last week Michel Barnier warned the bloc will not 'bargain away our values for the benefit of the British economy'

Last week Michel Barnier warned the bloc will not 'bargain away our values for the benefit of the British economy'

Last week Michel Barnier warned the bloc will not ‘bargain away our values for the benefit of the British economy’

The third round of negotiations has concluded but the chances of a deal by the end of the year appear to be slipping after each side blamed the other for a lack of progress on fishing arrangements and whether the UK will have to stick to EU rules.

Mr Barnier said the bloc wants a ‘modern’ agreement and ‘not a narrow one rooted in past precedents and sliced-up sector by sector’ as he also told Number 10: ‘You cannot have the best of both worlds.’

But Britain insisted Brussels must tear up its current ‘ideological approach’ if a deal is to be done.

The Centre for Brexit Policy, which was founded by former Tory Cabinet minister Owen Paterson and former director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, warned a two-year delay would cost the UK billions.

The report claims that another 12 month extension would cost the UK up to £378billion – with the country continuing to pay £11billion a year to Brussels. 

Mr Longworth said: ‘The combination of these eye-watering costs and continued subservience to EU rules would wreck any chance we have of restoring our fortunes as a nation as the pandemic subsides.’

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves today suggested Labour could push for a Brexit transition extension after she urged the Government not to rush trade talks.

Ms Reeves said Labour ‘absolutely do not want’ the UK to exit the transition period in December without a deal, telling Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘I would say to the Government the most important thing is we get a good deal, not any deal, but the best deal we can have.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves today suggested Labour could push for a Brexit transition extension after she urged the Government not to rush trade talks

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves today suggested Labour could push for a Brexit transition extension after she urged the Government not to rush trade talks

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves today suggested Labour could push for a Brexit transition extension after she urged the Government not to rush trade talks

‘The last thing our country and our economy needs at the moment is a further shock that could put jobs and livelihoods at risk.

‘So, don’t rush this, all of the attention of government at the moment is on fighting the coronavirus, that is the right thing, don’t rush this, take the time that is needed.

‘But at the moment the Government is saying we can still do this by the end of the year and we need to hold them to account to getting not just any deal, but the best deal we can, by the end of this year.’

Ms Reeves said the Government must outline a new timetable if it cannot secure a good Brexit trade deal by the end of the year.

She told Sky News: ‘We’re saying they mustn’t rush this and if they are not going to secure a deal, they mustn’t crash out without a deal – so that means taking the time that is necessary but it’s up to the Government to show they can deliver on the promises they’ve made to the British people.

‘That is getting a good deal and a good deal by the end of this year, and if they’re not in a position to do that they need to come back and explain a timetable.’

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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