Tory MPs blast the BBC for ‘talking down’ Britain’s new global trade deal after reporting it would boost the UK economy by just 0.08% over the next decade
- Radio 4 presenter Amol Rajan raised the forecasted figure with Kemi Badenoch
- A BBC article claimed that gains from the trade deal ‘are expected to be modest’
The BBC came under fire yesterday for talking down Britain’s new global trade deal.
News bulletins focused on projections that the agreement with 11 Asian and Pacific nations might only add 0.08 per cent to the size of the economy over the next decade.
Radio 4 presenter Amol Rajan raised the figure with Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and told her: ‘It is reasonable for people to quote that and say your own forecasts suggest that’s not necessarily huge.’
She suggested it was an outdated estimate, saying civil servants told her: ‘Oh well, it was just a scoping assessment.
‘We did it two years ago. It was based on figures ten years ago, 2014.’
Radio 4 presenter Amol Rajan raised the figure with Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and told her people may suggest that her forecasts are ‘not necessarily huge’
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch suggested the forecast was an outdated estimate
An article on the BBC’s website also featured the headline: ‘UK-Asia trade deal to boost UK economy by 0.08 per cent.’
It claimed the gains from joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership ‘are expected to be modest’.
And it contrasted the potential boost to trade with the impact of Britain leaving the EU.
‘Even with some gains in trading the government only estimates it will add 0.08 per cent to the size of the economy in ten years,’ the article said.
‘The Office for Budget Responsibility, which provides forecasts for the Government, has previously said Brexit would reduce the UK’s potential economic growth by about 4 per cent in the long term.’
But senior Conservatives hit out at the BBC’s approach. Deputy party chairman Lee Anderson, who has called for the licence fee that funds the corporation to be scrapped, said: ‘The BBC’s own review said its journalists “lack understanding of basic economics”, so Brits should take what they say with a pinch of salt.’
Former Cabinet minister Sir John Redwood said: ‘The BBC has presented a completely specious assessment of what the deal might mean.
They have presented it as a fact but it is very likely to be very wrong.’ While the corporation has long claimed leaving the EU Single Market could only be bad for the economy, he said, it was now downplaying the potential benefits of the new deal outside the EU.
‘It seems all too ready to paint Brexit in a bad light. This idea that we’ve lost 4 per cent of GDP over Brexit is a myth.’
Deputy party chairman Lee Anderson called for the BBC licence fee to be scrapped
And former MEP David Campbell Bannerman said: ‘The BBC are in full Remainer denial mode.
The world is moving on, and Global Britain and mega trade deals with the fastest-growing areas of the world is where UK should be, whilst still trading harmoniously with Europe.
‘Main point is the UK is now a global trade player and we are more likely to see a UK-US deal, and even the US at some point in the future rejoining CPTPP. We are now on a very different path in terms in mutual recognition as opposed to EU-style harmonisation.’
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