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Brexit will lead to rise in export taxes for UK firms, warns Sajid Javid

Published 06/06/2016

Sajid Javid challenged Brexit campaigners to set out their plans for the UK's trading relationship
Sajid Javid challenged Brexit campaigners to set out their plans for the UK's trading relationship

Brexit will impose an extra £34 billion in export taxes on UK companies trading with the Continent, Business Secretary Sajid Javid has insisted.

Joining forces with Labour former Brussels commissioner Lord Mandelson to back the Remain campaign, Mr Javid warned withdrawal would trigger a massive rise in tariff and red tape regulation costs for firms dealing with the EU.

The Business Secretary said Brexit would be an act of "economic sabotage" as he called on the Leave side to spell out its post-withdrawal economic strategy.

"They are rolling the dice with people's livelihoods," Mr Javid said at an event in London's Canary Wharf.

The Minister said the UK got 90% of the EU rules it wanted, and the other 10% were a compromise.

Former Cabinet heavyweight Lord Mandelson said Brexit would lead to a "second best" Britain, saying: "The only certainty for Leave is uncertainty."

The ex-business secretary said UK firms would see the costs of their goods soar in the European market.

"Paying an average tariff on our goods of around 9%. More for cars, more for clothing, reaching up to 38% for chemicals," he said.

The cross-party pair highlighted analysis by the Remain camp suggesting non-tariff barriers, such as complying with customs rules and regulations in destination countries, will cost exporters an average of £80,000 each.

In the letter to Vote Leave, Mr Javid and Lord Mandelson said: "After repeatedly claiming that Britain will be better off outside of the EU, it is now incumbent on you to provide a detailed plan for Britain's future outside Europe.

"If you want to secure the trust of the British people, important economic questions must be answered."

The pair challenged the Brexit camp to spell out the future trade relation the UK would have, saying: "The British people deserve answers to these questions, so they make a choice with their eyes open with clear facts, so they know exactly what they're getting.

"A campaign to leave the EU's single market without a plan for an alternative is an act of economic sabotage which would risk thousands of jobs, billions of trade and investment and the future economic stability of our country."

Brexit-backing Tory MP James Cleverly said: "The Remain campaign are failing to make the positive case for the EU because there isn't one. With momentum shifting in favour of leaving the EU, we are seeing yet more random numbers from the Remain camp.

"The costs of the EU still massively outweigh the benefits and the renegotiation didn't make a dent on cost of the Brussels bureaucracy. If we vote Leave, we can take back control of our democracy, borders and economy and protect our prosperity for future generations."

Lord Mandelson defended Jeremy Corbyn when asked about complaints that the Labour leader had not shown sufficient passion in the pro-EU campaign.

He said: "I think Jeremy Corbyn needs to keep doing what he's doing in every part of the country. He chooses not to appear at high profile national press conferences - he leaves that privilege to others.

"He wants to get out there round the country, on the ground, taking his message, the Labour message, to people all over the country."

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