Saturday 23 September 2017

UK 'would reap €80bn bonanza' by staying in the EU

Sir Stuart Rose has said it could take years for the implications of a No vote to be seen
Sir Stuart Rose has said it could take years for the implications of a No vote to be seen

Paul Sandle

Britain could reap an economic bonanza of €80bn and almost 800,000 new jobs if it opts to stay in the EU and achieves the market reforms it wants, according to an economic thinktank.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), which produced its report for the campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe, said creating a single digital market and opening up the financial, transport and energy sectors could increase British GDP by 2.8pc, equating to stg£2,832 (€3,800) per household.

Such reform dividends would be at risk if Britain had to renegotiate its access to markets after leaving the bloc, the CEBR said.

Britons will decide whether to stay in the EU in an in-out referendum promised before the end of 2017.

Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to renegotiate Britain's role in Europe, including market reforms, ahead of the vote.

Exceeded

Campaigners for leaving the bloc say Brussels' reach in many areas has far exceeded the aims of the trade bloc Britain joined in 1973, and that the country pays more into EU coffers than it gets out.

Stuart Rose, the former boss of retail giant Marks & Spencer who is chairing Britain Stronger in Europe, said 'In' campaigners had to proclaim the benefits of a reformed Europe to ordinary citizens.

"That's not an easy task because for years the people who believe that the UK is stronger, safer and better off in Europe have vacated the field to those who shout the loudest," he said.

"Unfortunately, up to now that has been people on the 'Out' side."

He said it could take years for the implications of a No vote to be seen.

"Nothing is going to happen if we come out of Europe in the first five years, probably," he said.

"There are a huge number of risks, but they're not all going to be short term. If you vote to come out in the referendum, you're not going to suddenly find on the Monday morning I can't do this, this and this. That's the danger."

Vote Leave, an 'Out' campaign group, said politicians had been promising EU reforms for years, yet every year the EU took more power and money.

"If we Vote Leave we will get a free trade deal and we will be able to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK," said campaign director Dominic Cummings.

Irish Independent

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