United Kingdom made no estimate of Brexit's economic impact

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The Brexit Secretary has said that the Government has not produced a single economic impact assessment on the United Kingdom leaving the EU.

Mr Davis was quizzed by committee chairman Hilary Benn, who said: "Doesn't it strike you as rather unusual that the Government undertakes impact assessments of all sorts of things all the time, but on the most fundamental change that we are facing as a country, you've just told us that the Government hasn't undertaken any impact assessments at all on the implications for various parts of the economy?"

He added that there was "sectoral analysis" of various industries in the United Kingdom, but no forecasting had been carried out.

But asked to confirm whether the government had compiled studies on the impact of Brexit on autos, financial services or aerospace, Mr Davis said "no to all of them".

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Pressing the issue, Mr Benn responded: "So the answer to the question is "no"?"

But he said on Wednesday that they had never been "impact assessments" in the technical sense of the phrase: "Just because you use the word impact doesn't make it an impact assessment".

"It will have an effect, the assessment of that effect is not as straightforward as people imagine.

So the Government hasn't undertaken any impact assessments on the implications of leaving the European Union for different sectors of the British economy".

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As recently as October, Mr Davis told MPs that sectoral reports existed in "excruciating detail".

Wera Hobhouse, a Lib Dem member of the committee, said it was "unbelievable" that the assessments did not exist. However he reiterated that publishing a series of sectoral impact studies would undermine the UK's negotiating position and potentially reveal sensitive information.

So, did ministers mislead House over the impact assessments?

"You don't need to do a formal impact assessment to understand that if there is a regulatory hurdle between our products and a market it will have an impact", he said.

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"Similarly, what we are dealing with here in every outcome - whether it is a free trade agreement, whether it is a WTO outcome or whether it is something between that on the spectrum - it is a paradigm change".

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