‘Derisory’… ‘blank paper’: Some City thoughts on the Brexit white paper

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The City’s reviews of the UK government’s Brexit white paper policy document are in. Some of them are… not great.

Daiwa says the document is a “derisory affair, offering no substantive new information on its objectives on top of what Theresa May had announced in her speech on 20 January.”

JPMorgan economist Malcolm Barr, meanwhile, writes:

Some will argue that, since the May administration was forced to provide this white paper on a tight timescale in order to secure passage of its Article 50 bill, there should be allowances for its lack of content. In our view, however, that lets it off far too lightly.

Ouch.

As a distillation of the state of knowledge within the UK government six months after the vote, and with the beginnings of a time-compressed negotiation just weeks away, the shallowness of the analysis and absence of detail are matters of great concern.

Among the problems, he cites the lack of discussion over the UK’s likely liabilities, or of detail on the regulatory authorities that will be needed to replace EU bodies upon leaving the union.

He concludes:

Although the administration is stating that the early provision of clarity and certainty is among its objectives, we see increasing grounds for concern that the plan as constituted cannot be credibly delivered. As such, multinational corporates may decide that the uncertainty in the UK’s policy regime is best avoided, and may choose to vote with their feet rather than waiting to see the negotiated outturn.

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