House of Commons Committee on Exiting the European Union

Publication of report: The consequences of “no deal” for UK business


A ‘No deal’ Brexit would be the most economically damaging outcome for UK business

In its latest report, The consequences of ‘no deal’ for UK business, the Committee on Exiting the EU warns that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would lead to severe disruption, pose a fundamental risk to the competitiveness of key sectors of the UK’s economy and put many jobs and livelihoods at risk. It would represent a sudden rupture for the closely entwined economies of the UK and the EU 27.

The Government’s own economic assessment shows that a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU would be the most economically damaging outcome for the UK. The effect would be most severe in the North East and the West Midlands, and the chemical, retail, food and drink and manufacturing sectors would be hardest hit.

The Committee finds that without a deal the UK could not rely on Article XXIV of the GATT to maintain current tariff-free trade arrangements with the EU. If the UK were to leave the EU without a deal, the European Commission has said the UK will become a third country without any transitional arrangements.

The Committee also concludes that a non-cooperative ‘no deal’ cannot be the desired end state for UK-EU economic relations.

The Committee’s latest report examines the implications of leaving the EU without an Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement – a ‘no deal’ exit – on different sectors of the UK’s economy: services, automotive and manufacturing, food and farming, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and research and higher education.

Committee Member Seema Malhotra MP commented:

This committee’s latest report makes it clear that a No Deal Brexit poses a serious threat to our economy, businesses, and human health. We must tell the Government that No Deal is an unacceptable outcome. I will continue to call for a confirmatory ballot which will give the UK a choice that rests on a firm knowledge of what Brexit really means and of the disastrous consequences that No Deal would bring.”

The Committee Chair, Hilary Benn MP, commented:

We heard from representatives of important sectors of the UK economy which are all great British success stories. Every single one warned us of the damaging consequences faced by their members in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

“A no deal Brexit, with no GATT XXIV agreement, would be at best a foolhardy gamble and at worst, lead to severe disruption, and it is neither desirable nor sustainable as an end state for our economic relations with the EU.

“This clear evidence reinforces our previous conclusion that a ‘managed no deal’ cannot constitute the policy of any responsible Government.”

The Committee will report further on the implications of a no deal exit for citizens’ rights in the Autumn.


Further information:

Each chapter relates to a specific sector with individual conclusions.

Chapter 1: Services

Par 38: Cross border trade in services

Par 39: Future arrangements on mutual recognition of professional qualifications

Par 40: The flow of personal data

Par 41: EU regulatory regime for services

Par 43: Workers in the UK services sector

Par 44: Preparation of business for no deal

Par 45: Sources of EU funding

Par 46: Financial support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Par 47: Venture capital investment in technology firms

Chapter 2: Automotive sector

Par 64: EU’s Common External Tariff in relation to the UK automotive sector

Par 65: UK-manufactured cars

Par 66: Trade with Turkey

Par 67: Integrated supply chains

Chapter 3: Food and farming

Par 81: Government’s provisional no deal tariff schedules

Par 82: Delays in agri-food supply chains due to customs and sanitary/phyto-sanitary checks

Par 83: European Food Safety Authority and Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed

Chapter 4: Pharmaceuticals and chemicals

Par 117: Just in time supply chains

Par 118: EU regulatory systems and databases

Par 119: Exchange of data and patient safety

Chapter 5: Research and higher education

Par 135: Horizon 2020 underwrite and Settled Status Scheme

Par 136: Decline in applicants to research and technician roles and for UK based grants


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