Buying a house is the biggest purchase most of us will ever make. For that reason, we take basic precautions. A look inside, reading through the specifications, land searches, a survey, and so on.
The UK Government is making sure people don’t get such basic information when it comes to leaving the EU.
Following a vote in the House of Commons last week, ‘Brexit impact assessments’ looking at 58 sectors will now be released by Whitehall. The Scottish Secretary has indicated the Government in Holyrood will see information on what Brexit will mean for the Scottish economy.
However, no such promise has been made to Wales. It seems as though the Welsh Government hasn’t even asked to see the analysis.
In fact, Ministers in Westminster have begun to deny that this analysis even exists.
It is for that reason I have today written to the First Minister, demanding clarity as to whether the Welsh Government is in possession of a Brexit impact study on the Welsh economy.
If they have this information, then they must make it public. If they have not been provided the information, then they must obtain it.
To deny Welsh policymakers, businesses and our citizens access to these documents is like blindfolding our country when we need to be looking more carefully and scrutinising what is going on than ever before.
Brexit is the biggest economic, social and political challenge to face Wales since the National Assembly for Wales came into being. It is therefore vital that Welsh policymakers and Welsh citizens understand its impact.
That is why in my letter to the First Minister I have also called on him to instruct the Welsh Government to produce its own analysis, regardless of what the Westminster Government does.
In the spirit of democracy, transparency and fact-based policymaking, his administration has a responsibility to comprehend and make clear what Brexit means for Wales.
We already know from independent analysis that Brexit is going to have a profound impact on the Welsh economy:
- We already know that Wales receives £245million more per year from the EU than we pay in.
- We already know that 200,000 Welsh jobs are dependent on trade within the EU Single Market.
- We already know that 90% of our food and drink exports are now at risk thanks to Brexit.
So then, what don’t we know? What more could Westminster be hiding from us in these 58 sectorial impact assessments?
What more could Welsh Labour be hiding, if they have been granted access to this analysis? Just how devastating and long-lasting are the effects of this atrociously negotiated Brexit bomb going to be?
Yes, Wales voted to leave the European Union, and Plaid Cymru has never disputed that fact. But Wales did not vote for the myriad of disastrous eventualities that this shambolic government is intent on imposing.
Whether the UK Government is forthcoming with a Welsh impact assessment or not, the Welsh Government must act.
It must come clean on its Brexit analysis. It must make us all aware of what Brexit means for Wales. It must do its job and work for Wales – whatever Westminster chooses to do.
Every day it becomes clearer that the referendum campaign was fought with misinformation, obstruction, and obfuscation of the truth.
We must learn from this and never allow it to be repeated. Our citizens deserve it, our economy requires it and our democracy demands it.
We all deserve and have a right to access the information in those impact assessments. Only then can we know how to move forward, stronger.