In his report From Project Fear to Project Prosperity, to be published in the autumn, he predicts that a ‘hard’ Brexit will offer a ‘£135bn annual boost’ to economy – around a 7% increase in GDP.
Minford, lead author of the introductory nine page report from Economists for Free Trade says that eliminating tariffs, either within free trade deals or unilaterally, would deliver trade gains worth £80bn a year. He has expressed the view that the British economy is flexible enough to cope with Brexit. The four elements in his calculation are listed in the Guardian as:
- free trade, either via free trade agreements with the EU and the rest of the world, or if those are sticky via unilateral moves to remove our trade barriers
- UK-run pragmatic regulation to replace the EU’s intrusive single-market regulation of our whole economy
- our net EU contribution and
- the cost to the taxpayer of the subsidy paid to unskilled EU immigrants, which we estimate at £3,500 per adult.
MEP Molly Scott Cato (left, speaking in the European Parliament), who read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, giving up her professorial chair at the University of Roehampton after election, says that Patrick Minford’s modelling is based on the UK unilaterally removing all restrictions and tariffs and trying its luck in a global market. According to LSE economists who have analysed his work, this would mean a massive fall in wages and the “elimination” of UK manufacturing.
Minford views the EU as a costly protectionist club, but in reality, Scott Cato continues, the single market eases internal trade and reduces costs: “In the real world, proximity, common standards, and rapid movement of components matter, hence the importance of the customs union. UK manufacturing is largely foreign-owned and revolves around assembly of components manufactured elsewhere in the EU. Ironically, this makes it even more important that we stay in the customs union, to ease the passage of components across borders”. She ends:
“Minford’s work is indicative of the whole Brexit project: based on the illusion that the UK has some manifest destiny that allows us to stand alone in a globalised world. It is high time this phony economics was sent into retirement”.