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Impact assessment shows NI loses control in 8 ways

by Nick Kent | 15.11.2019

Boris Johnson boasts he has got a “great deal” for Northern Ireland. But the government’s own impact assessment reveals at least eight areas where Boris Johnson has surrendered control to the EU. The highly technical 69-page document slipped out on the government’s website can’t even put a value on the supposed benefits.

An impact assessment normally explains the costs and benefits of a piece of legislation for businesses and citizens. But not this time. It says baldly: “It has not been possible to monetise the costs and benefits of the Northern Ireland protocol” (para 206).  

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What the assessment does tell us is that the regulatory burden in Northern Ireland will overwhelmingly fall on micro businesses. The 44,000 micro businesses (0-9 employees) which trade with Great Britain and Ireland are 80% of the total..

8 areas where we surrender control

One reason we don’t know the size of the impact is because there are at least eight areas where the regulations first need to be agreed with the EU:

1. The amount and type of agricultural subsidies permitted (para 201);

2.  Whether the all-Ireland “Single Electricity Market” will be able to share power through the interconnectors to Great Britain (para 196);

3. The exemptions from EU tariffs necessary to stop Northern Ireland (NI) fishing vessels from having to pay EU tariffs when they land their catch in NI. That’s because the fishing grounds will not be in the EU customs union but NI will be (para 202);

4. The exemptions from VAT and reduced rates of the tax in NI (Article 8 of the Withdrawal Agreement and para 247);

5.  The definition of “at risk” where goods exported by GB to NI are deemed to be “at risk” of going on from NI into the EU. This is important because tariffs will be collected on such goods (para 249);

6.  The details of the exemptions and waivers from these tariffs which the UK is permitted to allow subject to EU rules on state aid (para 250);

7.  Controls on the movement of goods at ports and airports (para 277);

8.  How the rules could be amended in future to ensure that north-south co-operation in Ireland is maintained (Northern Ireland protocol, Article 11).

These new rules require the EU’s consent – giving it a veto over Northern Ireland’s agricultural subsidies, electricity market, VAT and more. And remember, the UK will have no say in the EU’s policies in these or any other area if Brexit goes ahead.

Once again, when we look at Johnson’s deal in detail we find that it is a blind Brexit that surrenders control. This is not a good deal for Northern Ireland. It is a bad deal that puts at risk the peace and prosperity of its people and one they should reject.

Correction: the final words in the last sentence of bullet 3 on fishing were changed from “NI will not” to “NI will be”.

The headline and excerpt were updated on December 3

Edited by Hugo Dixon

Tags: Categories: UK Politics

One Response to “Impact assessment shows NI loses control in 8 ways”

  • Excellent work by the InFacts team which I hope is being furnished to all news agencies. On the subject of Northern Ireland readers and all news agencies should be informed of the video of Professor Michael Dougan on youtube on 8/11/19 dissecting BJ disastrous deal on NI which was kindly brought to my attention by one of the INFacts readers, John Kelly