Post-referendum Britain has defied the scaremongers to post its largest monthly budget surplus since records began, strengthening its hand against the ailing European Union as the Brexit deadline looms.
With Prime Minister Theresa May’s “Brexit in Name Only” agreement with the EU comprehensively rejected by Parliament and the bloc seemingly unwilling to make any concessions, the United Kingdom and the European Union are currently hurtling towards a so-called No Deal Brexit, or clean Brexit, on March 29th.
This would see the two parties revert to a relationship on standard World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms — although some minor agreements customs declarations, import duties etc. have already been struck, to minimise short-term disruption.Remain campaigners had predicted that Britain would already have experienced hundreds of thousands of job losses and a technical recession by now, as a result of the “immediate and profound shock” of a Leave vote — but it is in fact the European Union which is in the doldrums, with the German economy stagnant, France in a state of low-level civil insurrection, and Italy in recession — to say nothing of the continuing plague of youth unemployment in Greece, Spain, and so on.
The £14.9 billion budget surplus is the biggest posted in January since records began in 1993, according to the Guardian, beating last year’s figure by £5.5 billion.
The European Union, meanwhile, faces a black hole in its budget if the United Kingdom leaves without a deal and keeps the estimated £39 billion Theresa May had agreed to hand over as a “divorce settlement” of sorts — despite the fact Britain has put far more into the EU budget than it has taken out over the last four decades — with member-states having to make arrangements for emergency payments.
The British government has suggested it will indeed withhold this money if the EU declines to agree a deal, with Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) junior minister stating simply, “If we’re not a member-state, then we don’t pay into the EU budget,” while on his way to a meeting in Brussels earlier in the week.