- Form Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said business will need to adjust to more difficult trade with the EU.
- He acknowledged that new barriers to trade will emerge after Brexit.
- Analysis by the Financial Times has suggested that Britain is already down £350 million a week due to lost output from Brexit.
- Theresa May’s Cabinet is set to debate this week what Britain’s future relationship with the EU should be.
LONDON – British businesses will just have to “learn to get by” with a more difficult trading environment with Europe after Brexit, one of the leading leave campaigners claimed on Monday.
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said that the business community will simply have to adjust to whatever new barriers emerge once Britain leaves in 2019.
“There will be trade offs. Of course there will be,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
“British business will have to learn to get by in a different world.”
Duncan Smith, who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, the single market and the customs union, acknowledged that doing so would raise new barriers with the UK’s largest trading market.
“We are leaving so we won’t influence their future trade regulations,” he said.
However, Duncan Smith insisted that these new barriers would not reduce the overall level of trade from the continent.
“It’s not a case of less trade. It’s a case of a different type of trade,” he said.
Asked about Duncan Smith’s comments a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said on Monday that “we are looking for a deal that will have business at the centre of it. We will secure a deal that is in the interests of British businesses and the British people.”
Last year Duncan Smith accused British business of becoming “lazy” due to the UK’s membership of the EU.
Many Brexit campaigners previously suggested that the EU would maintain existing trade terms with the UK.
However, the EU last week insisted that Britain will not retain its current beneficial trading terms with the single market after Brexit.
According to the European Council’s official guidelines for Brexit negotiations: “The United Kingdom has stated its intention to no longer participate in the Customs Union and the Single Market after the end of the transition period, and the European Council will calibrate its approach as regards trade and economic cooperation in the light of this position so as to ensure a balance of rights and obligations, preserve a level playing field, avoid upsetting existing relations with other third countries.”
Duncan Smith’s comments come as Theresa May’s cabinet prepares to debate what the UK’s “end state” with the EU should be. An inner circle will meet at Downing Street today before a full cabinet discussion on the question on Tuesday.
£350 million a week less
New analysis by the Financial Times suggests that Britain has already suffered substantially depressed growth as a result of leaving the EU.
According to their analysis, “Britain’s output is now around 0.9% lower than was possible if the country had voted to stay in the EU.”
This equates to almost exactly £350 million less a week, the same figure that the official Brexit campaign said the UK would benefit from if it voted to leave.
Don’t bother to look at this league table of growth in rich countries pic.twitter.com/3Az4Ya85kr
— Robert Peston (@Peston) December 18, 2017
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