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And Prof Patrick Minford predicted the UK will become a low-tax, competitive nation on the international stage once it quits at the end of the transition period on December 31 – regardless of whether a free trade deal with the bloc has been struck. Asked about the possibility of the UK returning to the fold, Prof Minford told German business magazine Economy Week: “I don’t see a chance for that, at least for a generation. “The desire for a new referendum is low. And the Johnson government is very popular.
If you apply for EU membership again, Brussels will probably require the British to forego premium discounts and to commit themselves to joining the euro
Professor Patrick Minford
“In addition, if you apply for EU membership again, Brussels will probably require the British to forego premium discounts and to commit themselves to joining the euro.
“But there is no majority in the British population for this.”
Prof Minford also dismissed suggestions that the barriers to a UK/EU trade deal purely stem from Britain’s reluctance to comply with the bloc’s regulatory standards.
He said: “If it were only about the current standards and regulations, we would have no problem.
“Great Britain has no interest in undermining the applicable EU standards in the area of the environment, state aid or competition policy.
“On the contrary, the government in London has an environmentally friendly policy, and the UK has high standards of working conditions and competition.”
It was rather a case of Brussels expecting Britain to continue to adhere to all EU standards which it sets.
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He added: “The British are not ready for this. We have not regained our sovereignty in order to lose it again in the future in the wake of regulatory requirements from Brussels.
“No country with a sovereign government can allow a foreign authority to dictate how it should shape politics.
“This also applies to fishing rights, which are another point of contention in the negotiations. An agreement with Brussels in this area is quite possible.
“But Britain must be able to set the conditions under which fishermen from other EU countries are allowed to fish in British waters.
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“If Brussels insists that Great Britain will comply with all EU regulatory requirements in the future, there will be no agreement.”
Looking to the future, Prof Minford said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would inevitably shape UK trade policy.
He explained: “The coronavirus crisis is driving up the UK budget deficit and government debt.
“This reduces the scope for rapid tax cuts. However, the UK economy must grow to bring the debt ratio back to a sustainable level.
“The government in London will, therefore, do everything possible to improve the site conditions.
“This includes the lowest possible taxes with which London attracts companies from the EU to Great Britain.”
There were also benefits to the EU from Brexit, Prof Minford stressed.
He said: “Competition is not harmful, not even with taxes. If the UK economy grows due to lower taxes, the EU will also benefit.
“On the one hand, because the British then demand more products from the continent. On the other hand, because lower taxes put pressure on EU governments to cut taxes as well.
“This strengthens the growth forces in the EU. Anyone who claims that tax and location competition is harmful obviously sees the economy as a zero-sum game.
“According to the motto: What the British win, the EU loses.
“This is nonsense. Tax competition strengthens the growth forces on all sides.”
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