UK rules out rejoining single market despite trade barriers

In an interview, the UK’s finance minister Jeremy Hunt says that, although Brexit has meant barriers to trade with the EU, the UK won’t be rejoining the single market to get free trade. 

There have been calls from businesses to join the European market with its common rules and trade standards, some of which have been hindered by additional costs and red tape. 

There are studies that show the UK economy has suffered since leaving the EU. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility’s updated economic outlook “the latest evidence suggests that Brexit has had a significant adverse impact on UK trade”.

However, Jeremy Hunt rejected this, saying that most of the current obstacles will disappear in time. He said in the BBC interview: “I have great confidence that over the years ahead, we will find outside the single market we are able to remove the vast majority of the trade barriers that exist between us and the EU. 

It’ll take time, there’s a transition as you deliver something like Brexit which obviously people have voted for, and we must make a great success of. 

I don’t think it’s the right way to boost growth, because it would be against what people were voting for when they supported Brexit, which was to have control of our borders, and membership of the single market requires free movement of people, so I think we can find other ways that will more than compensate for those advantages.” 

He also said that it could take time to improve the UK’s outlook, and the government plans to reduce net migration and focus on improving domestic skills – although businesses have called for immigration rules to be relaxed to make up for Brexit-related labor shortages. 

“We’re trying to put in place that long-term solution, but we are recognizing, yes, that we will need migration in the years ahead, and that will be very important for the economy,” he added.

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