Free of Brussels’ stringent state aid rules, the Government can selectively take stakes in industries of the future, not least artificial intelligence and biotech.
Freeports and enterprise zones, low-tax jurisdictions bringing investment and prosperity to coastal towns and other deprived areas, should be at the forefront of addressing regional imbalances – and, again, are only possible outside the EU.
And what about research and development tax credits, and other post-Brexit regulatory tweaks, again with a regional focus?
While levelling up will cost money, such efforts should extend way beyond spending, emphasising infrastructure projects that harness long-term private capital, tax breaks and, above all, vigorous supply-side reforms – all of which are far easier after Brexit.
The latest government modelling suggests that, under no deal, the UK economy would be 3 percentage points smaller in 15 years’ time than it otherwise would have been.
That’s compared to the outcome under the kind of “skinny” free trade deal being negotiated – no tariffs on goods, but some new border checks and restrictions on services trade. As such, the no-deal negative growth impact in any one year is set to be tiny.
And, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, any possible implications are anyway “dwarfed by the uncertainty surrounding the underlying path of future productivity growth”.
So let’s use the freedoms of Brexit to implement the supply-side measures – on tax, regulation and infrastructure – that would so clearly boost productivity, more than offsetting the miniscule growth downsides if we do end up with no deal.