Anyone got a spare couple of billion laying under their mattress? Maybe down the back of the sofa? Perhaps tucked into an old jeans pocket? Oh. Shame. The UK sure could do with it right now.
Yesterday, in an Autumn statement that centred mainly on how Britain could withstand the challenges of leaving the EU, Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed the financial crater that’ll be left when the Brexit meteor finally strikes the UK. And it’s a big one. Oh boy, is it a big one. A monster. A real doozy.
Here come the number.
The big, big, number.
Brain-scratchingly massive number...
Fifty-nine billion. £59bn. Five. Nine. Billion. A number so big our iPhone calculator can’t even fit it all in.
Whichever way you put it, it sure ain’t pretty – Brexit is going to cost the UK £59bn.
The figure comes from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), who announced that there would have to be £122bn of extra borrowing over the next five years - £59bn of which is there as a direct result of Brexit. Broken down in to, er, more manageable chunks, the government’s watchdog said that leaving the EU will cost £226m a week in borrowing thanks to increases in inflation, a decrease in growth, and stagnation of wages.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only thing that got the public rubbing their temples in disbelief. With no mention of the NHS in Hammond’s statement, Labour said there was clearly no cash left for health or social care, both of which, with winter knocking on the door, could really do with a bit of moolah right now.
But hey! It’s not all bad news. Hammond also talked of full fibre broadband being rolled out across the entire UK, as well as exciting plans to test a 5G network and freeze fuel duty again. What’s more, National Living Wage would get a increase of 4% to £7.50. But, hang on...