Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Brexit
2 October 2016

Can the government keep their promises without tanking the British economy?

The Prime Minister has set herself a tricky task in negotiating the terms of Britain's Brexit vote.

By Stephen Bush

Well, now we know what Brexit means: recession. Theresa May effectively called time on Britain’s membership of the single market in her curtain-raiser to Tory party conference. In making securing control over Britain’s borders and freeing Britain from the judicial overview of the European Court of Justice,  she has all but ruled out any arrangement that would include Britain’s continuing membership of the single market.

That wipes out any hope the government has of maintaining a decent standard of access to the single market, and with it, puts the future of Britain’s financial services at risk – or does it?

At the top of Whitehall, there is a growing sense that there might be a way out. They see Britain’s Out vote as having two prongs – the size of Britain’s contribution to the EU budget and control over Britain’s borders. (Or, to put in the language of Vote Leave, the £350m a week that could be spent on the NHS and the horde of Turks that were poised to gain visa-free access to the United Kingdom.) But those prongs have to be reconciled with the objective of making a deal that doesn’t knacker the economy.

How best to reconcile those three? A lot of attention is being paid to the Norway grants, where that country pays large sums to both Brussels and member states. Remember that Brexit represents a 12.5 per cent reduction in the European Union’s budget and you already have a great deal to negotiate with. 

Of course, that will inevitably disappoint people who voted Leave expecting a cash bonanza for the Health Service. But it remains the government’s best hope of keeping its promises without tipping Britain into recession.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.