Low productivity is a more serious problem for the government’s funds than any divorce bill with the EU, the UK’s fiscal watchdog said today.

Robert Chote, head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that it was “easy” to focus on the Brexit bill, but that low productivity was far more serious.

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“If it is an extra amount, you are talking here about presumably a one-off payment of some billions of pounds which would be dwarfed by the consequences of Brexit, positive or negative, for the long-term outlook for economic growth,” he said.

If the government deals with the UK’s productivity problem, this would “swamp” any consequences of leaving the EU, he said.

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