Brexit minister admits sector impact assessments don’t exist

Brexit minister David Davis has admitted that impact assessments across a number of sectors do not exist, despite being promised to parliament.

Davis had previously refused to release the Department for Exiting the European Union’s internal studies on the impact of Brexit, but did confirm there was analysis of 58 sectors, including asset management, banking and fintech.

He said at the time sectoral analysis was useful because it provided a structured approach to economy-wide analysis and reflects the way businesses and stakeholders organise themselves.

However, the minister is now playing down the assessments.

Following a unanimous vote by MPs to make the analysis public, Davis admitted in a letter to the chair of the Exiting the European Union committee that “it is not the case that 58 sectoral impact assessments exist.”

The letter was published by the committee on Monday.

Davis describes the belief in the existence of “discrete impact assessments” as a misunderstanding.

Instead Davis tells committee chair Hilary Benn the department holds a “wide mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis, contained in a range of documents developed at different times since the referendum”.

Therefore it will take time for the department to collate, Davis says.

The department holds information examining the nature of activity in the sectors, how trade is currently conducted and the alternatives after the UK leaves, plus looks at existing precedents, he writes.

Davis also calls for a meeting with Benn for reassurance that the information that the department holds does not enter the public domain, arguing it could weaken the Government’s hand in negotiations with the EU.

Davis has been given three weeks to release his department’s economic analysis.