Business Brexit

Thursday 18 January 2018

Cameron urges voters to sign up as support swings towards Brexit

David Cameron
David Cameron

Oliver Wright in London

British Prime Minister David Cameron has appealed to voters to make sure they are registered to vote in the Brexit referendum after a number of opinion polls have indicated a surge for the leave side.

Mr Cameron said: "For many people, this will be one of the most important choices they make.

"This is a vote about the future of the country. This vote will determine the sort of economy young people grow up in, the sort of opportunities that our children and grandchildren have.

"This is bigger than any one politician, which is why I urge everyone to go out and register so they can have their say."

Financial markets have also responded to the polls with fears of a currency meltdown at their highest levels since the financial crisis.

Figures from the Electoral Commission show that since May over 1.35 million people have applied to register to vote online, of which 763,183 were under the age of 34 - those most likely to support a remain vote.

But a series of polls in recent days has suggested that momentum is building behind Brexit campaigners.

A YouGov poll yesterday showed 45pc of Britons would vote to leave the EU, compared to 41pc who would vote to stay in. A separate survey by TNS showed 43pc backed Brexit, while 41pc supported continued EU membership.

An ICM poll of 2,000 people added to the pressure, with 48pc in favour of the UK leaving, up one point on last week, and 43pc in favour of remaining.

The polls have spooked the financial markets. The pound fell by as much as 1.5 cents against the dollar while the cost of insuring against wild swings in the currency over the next month jumped to a level not seen since the height of the financial crisis in 2009.

"Were Brexit to occur we would see a real risk of a sterling crisis against the backdrop of twin fiscal and current account deficits," Mark Dowding, co-head of investment grade debt at BlueBay Asset Management told financial reporters.

The Remain campaign has published an analysis claiming UK exporters would face £34.4bn (€44bn) 'export tax' from the cost of non-tariff barriers alone if Britain leaves the EU's Single Market. This, they say, represents an average cost of £79,500 (€102,000) for each of the 430,000 British businesses that export to the EU.

Meanwhile, forecasters at the Economist Intelligence Unit claimed Brexit would mean NHS spending would be £135 (€173) per head lower - while nearly 10,000 doctors and 19,000 nurses in the NHS who come from other EU countries could be affected.

Mr Cameron and Nigel Farage took part in a live ITV 'debate' on the EU referendum, although they did not appear on the stage at the same time and were questioned separately by a studio audience.

Mr Cameron focussed on sticking to the Remain campaign's theme that a vote to leave could put Britain's economy in peril.

He said yesterday that Brexit would "put a bomb" under the UK's prospects.

But Boris Johnson said it was a "delusion" to think Britain could boost its prosperity by "bartering away our freedom and democracy".

He warned of a "triple whammy" of economic woe if the UK remains in the EU, claiming that Brussels was waiting until the referendum is out of the way to seek an increase in budget contributions as well as extra cash to fill a £20bn black hole in unpaid bills.

Mr Cameron joined senior figures from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens to launch a dossier detailing 23 alternative trade models which they claimed had been espoused at various times by Leave campaigners - each of which they said would have "a profound and damaging effect on our economy".

Mr Cameron warned that Brexit would plunge the UK into recession, with businesses going bust, unemployment rising and sterling falling, followed by a "decade of uncertainty" as Britain attempts to negotiate new trade arrangements with the rest of the world.

"Add those things together - the shock impact, the uncertainty impact, the trade impact - and you put a bomb under our economy," he said. "And the worst thing is, we'd have lit the fuse ourselves."

Irish Independent

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