Wednesday 28 September 2016

Osborne warns of Brexit economic hit as campaign enters its final days

Published 20/06/2016 | 02:30

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Pic: Neil Hall
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Pic: Neil Hall

UK chancellor George Osborne has warned the hit to the country's economy from a vote on Thursday to leave the European Union could be worse than initially thought.

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As the referendum campaign resumed in the wake of the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox, Mr Osborne said the economic fallout from a vote to pull out could be much worse than forecast, as the 'Remain' side sought to persuade voters to pull back from the 'Leave' camp.

"The central estimate is that our GDP would be 5 to 6pc smaller," Mr Osborne said.

"Personally, I think it's possible that it could be quite a lot worse than that."

Any negative knock-on effect on the UK economy would also be felt in Ireland.

Mr Osborne said consumers were delaying decisions, and weren't buying big ticket items like houses and cars.

But the 'Leave' camp hit back, with Michael Gove stating that Britain would be able to cope with "whatever the world throws at us" outside the EU.

Polls show momentum has swung back to the 'Remain' side, with just days to go until the crucial vote.

Momentum

The campaign to keep Britain in the European Union regained its lead in two opinion polls published on Saturday, giving a boost to David Cameron who is battling to avoid a historic "Out" vote.

A third poll also showed a change in momentum in favour of the "In" camp and Mr Cameron got the backing of a leading newspaper when the 'Mail on Sunday' urged its readers to vote to remain in the EU. Financial markets around the world are on edge ahead of Thursday's referendum.

Recent polls showing the "Out" camp in the lead have weakened sterling and helped wipe billions of pounds off stock markets as investors worried not only about the hit to Britain's economy and its trading partners, but also about the implications of a so-called Brexit for the EU's future.

Irish Independent

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