Economists say Brexit will harm econ­omy

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

Nine out of 10 of Bri­tain's top economists work­ing in Lon­don's City fi­nan­cial dis­trict, small busi­ness and academia be­lieve the econ­omy will be harmed if Bri­tain leaves the Euro­pean Union, a poll said on Sun­day.

The poll, which the Ob­server news­pa­per said was the big­gest of its kind draw­ing re­sponses from more than 600 economists, is a boost for Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron, who is lead­ing the cam­paign for Bri­tain to stay in the 28-mem­ber bloc at a ref­er­en­dum on June 23 de­spite op­po­si­tion from some in his party.

Car­ried out by poll­ster Ip­sos-MORI, the poll found that 88 per­cent of those asked said an exit from the EU and the sin­gle mar­ket would most likely dam­age Bri­tain's growth prospects over the next five years and 82 per­cent said there would prob­a­bly be a neg­a­tive im­pact on house­hold in­comes. The Ob­server said those sur­veyed were mem­bers of the pro­fes­sion's most re­spected rep­re­sen­ta­tive bodies, the Royal Eco­nomic So­ci­ety and the So­ci­ety of Busi­ness Economists.

Cam­paign­ers on both sides of the ar­gu­ment have tar­geted the econ­omy as one of the main battle grounds to win round vot­ers who are split in what is be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly bit­ter fight over Bri­tain's fu­ture.

"Out" cam­paign­ers say Bri­tain would be freed from reg­u­la­tion and red tape if it left the Euro­pean Union, able to ne­go­ti­ate its own trade deals with­out having to please 27 other coun­tries.

Matthew El­liott, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Vote Leave, ac­cused economists of mak­ing "the same hol­low ar­gu­ments" they made to sup­port switch­ing to the euro.

"There was a cosy con­sen­sus among economists sup­port­ing Bri­tain scrap­ping the pound 15 years ago ... They were wrong then and they are wrong now," he said in a state­ment.

But the "In" cam­paign has pressed its ar­gu­ment that Bri­tain would suf­fer an eco­nomic down­turn if it left, hurt­ing the pound, jobs and wages.

Cameron said in a state­ment: "This poll con­firms the over­whelm­ing view of economists - leav­ing the EU would dam­age our econ­omy, cost­ing jobs and in­creas­ing prices."

Mean­while, those that want to 'Leave' ar­gue the UK would have a stronger econ­omy, and re­tain more na­tional sovereignty out­side of the EU. Those in the 'Re­main' camp say trade with the EU makes the UK much stronger eco­nom­i­cally, and its voice within the Union makes it much more po­lit­i­cally im­por­tant. Although many have cho­sen their re­spec­tive side, the In­sti­tute of Di­rec­tors (IoD) re­mains neu­tral in the dis­cus­sion: 63% of IoD mem­bers wish to re­main in the EU, but 50% think that the UK could be eco­nom­i­cally suc­cess­ful out­side of it.

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