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It’s only Putin who’ll get a ‘Brexit dividend’

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 21.06.2018

No sooner had Theresa May promised a Trump-sized “Brexit dividend” for the NHS than the wheels came flying off her metaphorical big red bus. The Institute for Fiscal Studies rubbished the lie, and polling shows voters don’t believe it either. Brexit will cost us money, not save it.

Regardless of the lie, the policy has been announced, and now Philip Hammond must find a way to pay for it. He will say his bit later today, but there is no mention of a Brexit dividend in early copies of his speech; only tax rises. At least someone in government is being honest.

Brexit is set to blow a £15 billion hole in the government’s finances, according to official forecasts, before we worry about replicating functions currently performed by EU bodies. If the Chancellor is truly set against borrowing, carving out special funding for the NHS will either mean socking tax rises, or cutting other spending.

This might explain why the prime minister is asking the defence secretary to “justify Britain’s role as a ‘tier one’ military power”, according to the FT. That will be music to Vladimir Putin’s ears. Vote Leave, slash defence spending, become an international irrelevance.

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This is not, of course, what Brexiters promised two years ago. Leaving was supposed to make us safer.

But then, almost nothing has worked out how Vote Leave said it would. We were promised a Brexit bonanza for public services, not just the NHS. More money for farmers, more money for scientists, scrapping VAT on fuel, replacing lost EU grants for universities, rebalancing the economy so that it worked for everyone.

What are we getting? The NHS is being promised a carve-out, but everything else is still upon the block.

Defence could be cut. New plans for farming subsidies could see a quarter of English farms go bankrupt. Rather than healing regional inequality, Brexit is exacerbating it. Jaguar Land Rover is merely the latest company to announce job cuts and a shift of focus to the continent.

Nobody voted for this Brexit – except possibly Moscow.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

6 Responses to “It’s only Putin who’ll get a ‘Brexit dividend’”

  • Boris’s reputation is forever ruined by his repeated lie of the £350M per week for the NHS. May has apparently agreed to try to repair his reputation by repeating the lie and hence lending some credibility to her damaged minister. All she has done is to tar herself with the same brush. She is revealed as someone who is prepared to lie and certainly mislead in her attempt to keep this car-wreck on the road. May’s reputation as a pair of safe hands, based on her work in the Home Office is slowly being unpicked for the disaster it was…showing little concern for the misery she caused in trying to meet her arbitrary and ridiculous targets. She is not fit for office and the sooner she goes the better for all of us.

  • What’s become vividly obvious since the bad news started pouring in and polls started to move in favour of remain NOT, is that any number of lies can be told and all sorts of hits can and will be taken by so many, but leavers press the button on a basis of emotion, rage and antipathy stoked up by the tories and right wing media over 40 years; of course some leavers just believe in splendid and exceptional isolation, also nutty. I’m a leaver and emotionally a european ever since my childhood, but I happen to be able to argue, as all remainers can should and must that the remain position is the patriotic one that also gives continued propsperity and opportunity to the ordinary brit.

  • I have long been of the opinion that the biggest supporters of Brexit were Putin and Trump. One to weaken the EU militarily the other to ensure that the dollar dominates World financial markets. Hence the support public and private shown by both leaders.

  • It is interesting the reaction to Airbus’s statement from the leading Brexiteers and from Jeremy Hunt on the Marr show this morning. “It’s all project fear” they cry, when we are FREE we will make the most wonderful deals with the rest of the world. Hurray for Mighty England and bring back the Empire. In 60 years I have never seen a Government with such a high level of self delusion. It is NOT going to be alright on the night.

  • “Project fear” is effective only on stupid people. It gives some satisfaction to the perpetrator – but is absurdly nonsensical.
    It means that telling someone that you are frightened is itself evidence that you are wrong. A liar even. Brexit frightens me; saying that is automatically a lie?

  • “the prime minister is asking the defence secretary to “justify Britain’s role as a ‘tier one’ military power”
    Isn’t the roll of the Navy to protect our international trade routes? (It is certainly not equipped for coastal defence, with one of the three suitable boats permanently stationed in the Falklands). May’s questions suggests that the UK is not going to have any international trade routes after Brexit. So couldn’t she save a lot of money by closing down Liam Fox’s department?