Mark Carney waded into the row over the type of Brexit that is best for Britain, saying that the “deeper the relationship” with Europe the better for the economy.
The Bank of England governor also said that the vote for Brexit had already removed about 1 per cent from the economy compared with BoE forecasts for economic performance had the UK voted to remain inside the EU.
That equates to a loss of economic output of over £350m a week, confirming reports that the governor thought the size of the hit to the UK already was similar in magnitude to the figure on the Vote Leave bus that toured the country during the referendum campaign.
Mr Carney was talking to the BBC Today programme from the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The governor said there was still scope for the UK to join in with the wider acceleration of global growth. Borrowing a term from the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Mr Carney said greater clarity over Britain’s relationship with the EU could assuage business fears and lead to a “conscious recoupling” of the UK with the global economy.
“We’re in a position today where the economy is about a percentage point less in size than we expected before the vote – at this point – by the end of the year it will be probably two percentage points below.”
Mr Carney refused to be drawn on the chancellor’s comments at the World Economic Forum that Britain should seek to change regulatory alignment “hopefully very modestly” with the EU, but said Britain should seek a very close relationship.
“The deeper the relationship with Europe, the deeper the relationship with the rest of the world, and the two are obviously connected…the better it’s going to be over time for the UK economy,” he said.
Asked about the Presidents Club dinner the governor said he had “no idea” how afternoon tea with him became a prize at the controversial charity event but added he was “encouraged by the scale, scope and depth of the reaction.”
“It demonstrates to the people who were there how much the culture has moved on,” he said.