The head of one of the world’s leading economic organisations has cast doubt on claims that a “no-deal” Brexit would be an economic catastrophe, pledging that the international community would “roll with it”.
Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said that even the worst case scenario in Brexit would nonetheless prove manageable.
A no-deal Brexit refers to a situation where the UK will leave the EU with no agreements in place for what the future relationship will look like. It means the UK will fall back to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on global trade.
Talking to Sky News at the World Economic Forum meetings at Davos, Mr Gurria said: “A no-deal, WTO rules…the whole world is running by WTO rules these days.
“It’s unfortunate that the UK is leaving the EU but that was the will of the British people so we take our bumps and we roll with it.”
The comments strike a very different tone to the official forecasts from the OECD, which have warned of severe economic costs from a no-deal Brexit, with the UK’s national income being 2% lower than it would have been.
However, while Mr Gurria said that he still believed a deal and a smooth Brexit were the most likely outcome, he added that the OECD, the formal grouping of the world’s developed economies, would ensure there was as little disruption as possible.
“The UK is a member of the OECD,” he said. “We are going to make sure that this happens in the most seamless possible way…that the costs are lowered.”
His comments came as Sky News revealed Border Force in the UK is planning for “significant outbound queues” at the Eurostar and a “degradation of border security” if there is not a deal after 29 March.
In a leaked presentation, the key Home Office agency admits for the first time it will not be able to distinguish between EU residents and new EU arrivals.
It says there is the possibility of “disruption”, “loss of data” and an “additional clandestine threat” emerging from less co-operation with EU nations.
Theresa May took her Brexit plan B to the Commons this week, after her plan A was defeated by the worst majority ever faced by a prime minister, but she has faced criticism as MPs suggested there was little difference between the plans.