Budget watchdog announces cost of Brexit at £1,200 for each person in Britain

Boris Johnson’s Brexit will slow down economic growth to the tune of £1,200 for every person in the country, the government’s spending watchdog has said.

" Brexit " appeared just twice in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget speech despite the huge impact it’s predicted to have on the national finances.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said based on current Brexit plans, growth would be slowed by around 4% in the long run.

They said part of the slowdown was a result of lower migration – but most was from a slump in business investment.

The body – set up by George Osborne to scrutinise Budgets – said the economy had only seen a third of the impact of Brexit so far.

Another third will happen over the next five years, and the remainder after 2025.

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In their assessment of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first budget, the OBR said: “Real business investment has barely grown since the referendum, whereas our March 2016 forecast assumed it would have risen more than 20% by now.

“We expect this shortfall to be partly reversed as the specifics of the trading relationship are clarified, hence reducing uncertainty.

“But, working in the other direction, we expect the adverse effect of higher trade barriers to build through our five-year forecast period and beyond.”

The so-called “Brexit dividend” is also listed in the Budget red book as a benefit to the economy.

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The figure amounts to £14.6 billion a year by 2025 – more or less the £350 million a week written on the side of Boris Johnson ’s bus, less the ‘rebate’ from the EU.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak may delay the next round of Brexit talks between the UK and the EU, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Talks remain scheduled to go ahead next week but clearly we will keep the situation under review and we will be guided by the scientific advice.

"There will be a joint UK-EU decision on how to proceed with this round."

Officials were understood to be looking at contingencies, with the possibility of a secure conference call among the options.

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