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This looks like another result of Brexit.

It is balance of payments data – the difference between the amount we pay to foreign countries for goods and services and the amount we receive – that shows the loss.

Also, direct investment in the UK by foreign firms has nose-dived.

It is exactly as This Writer warned, only a few days ago.

The really galling aspect of this is that the minority Conservative government will still claim to be the party of sensible financial management, even though it is its own division over Brexit that has created the uncertainty in which the money has disappeared.

Remember: Brexit is happening because David Cameron thought a referendum on EU membership would unify the Tories. It didn’t.

Remember: The vote to leave the European Union was based very strongly on lies and wild speculation by people who knew better but were trying to trick the public. There was never any chance of the NHS seeing £350 million of investment per week, for example.

Remember: The Conservatives have botched negotiations on the terms of our departure so badly that businesses are fleeing the UK. They can’t get away fast enough.

The longer this farce continues, the worse it will be for the UK as a whole.

And it will be the poor who bear the brunt of the harm.

Global banks and international bond strategists have been left stunned by revised ONS figures showing that Britain is £490bn poorer than had been ­assumed and no longer has any reserve of net foreign assets, depriving the country of its safety margin as Brexit talks reach a crucial juncture.

A massive write-down in the UK balance of payments data shows that Britain’s stock of wealth – the net international investment position – has collapsed from a surplus of £469bn to a net deficit of £22bn. This transforms the outlook for sterling and the gilts markets.

“Half a trillion pounds has gone missing. This is equivalent to 25pc of GDP,” said Mark Capleton, UK rates strategist at Bank of America.

Making matters worse, foreign ­direct investment (FDI) by companies is plummeting. It fell from a £120bn surplus in the first half 2016 to a £25bn deficit over the same period of this year.

Source: Britain’s missing billions: Revised figures reveal UK is £490bn poorer than previously thought


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