Leaked papers suggest £66bn a year for hard Brexit

Cabinet ministers are being warned that the Treasury could lose up to £66 billion a year in tax revenues under a ‘hard Brexit’, according to leaked government papers.

The draft cabinet committee paper, seen and reported on by The Times, warns of a monumental amount of money, which is nearly a tenth of the £716 billion that the government is projected to collect in taxes this year, and is equivalent to 65 per cent of the annual budget of NHS England.

Based upon an April report, which was overseen by former Chancellor George Osborne, was dismissed at the time as propaganda but it is understood that the Treasury stands by its calculations.

Senior Brexit supporters who have seen the paper are understood to have protested that it was ‘withdrawn from reality’ and ‘not very realistic’ because it did not assume the continuation of any trade deals, accusing the Treasury of scare tactics.

The leaked section of the cabinet paper is believed to be one of three prepared for discussions this week that cover the World Trade Organisation, trade deals and immigration.

Prime Minister Theresa May faces a potential legal challenge by a group of Conservative MPs over the decision to begin Brexit negotiations without parliament’s approval. However, David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, defended the government’s decision not to seek parliamentary approval before Article 50 was triggered and said there was a difference between being accountable to parliament and being micromanaged by it.