CHANCELLOR George Osborne has defended his controversial claim that every family in Britain will be £4,300 worse off if we leave the EU. He has warned that Britain’s economy will be “permanently” damaged with billions of pounds less to invest in schools, hospitals and our defences.
Treasury figures show that going it alone and seeking a Canadian-style free trade deal with the EU will see the UK economy shrink 6 per cent by 2030 – equivalent to over £4,000 per household.
He said: “When people look at this analysis people will see on every occasion, we have looked for independent figures and confirmation from external bodies.
“We’re setting out the facts and it is for others that want to take us out of this trade relationship on which so many jobs depend to set out the facts as well then the public can see. People want to see the facts.
“We would not all be in this together if we left the EU. It would be the poorest who would be hit if we left the EU.
“They are the people who always suffer when the country takes an economic wrong turn.” The Chancellor said there would be a risk of Germany and France imposing tariffs on Britain if we vote for Brexit on June 23.
He said: “France and Germany would only give us full access to the single market if we pay into the European Union and accept free movement of people, so we could be outside the EU and not get all the benefits of EU membership and if we’re not going to get all the benefits of EU membership that means we are losing trade and losing investment.”
Britain’s economy would shrink by 6% by 2030 if the country replicated Canada’s trading agreement with the EU, as advocated by Boris Johnson, according to the Chancellor.
He said: “The question is whether we would be stronger inside the EU or outside the EU, take the free trade agreement that Canada has signed – the problem with the Canada model is you do not have access to the service industry and that’s 80 per cent of the British economy.
“[It would be] a six per cent shock to the GDP as an estimate based on one of the models. We set out in the document what the likely impact is.”
It sets up a fierce week-long battle between the Remain camp and Out campaigners ahead of US President Barack Obama’s pro-EU visit to Downing Street on Friday.
Today’s report came after France’s Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron yesterday infuriated so-called Brexiteers by saying the UK would be “killed” economically if it voted to leave.
He compared an independent UK to Jersey or Guernsey and claimed the Chinese would never do business with post-Brexit Britain. But the report has been dismissed by prominent figures from the Out campaign.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson insisted people realised the UK could prosper outside the EU.
In his Daily Telegraph column, Mr Johnson wrote: “All the usual suspects are out there, trying to confuse the British public and to persuade them that they must accept the accelerating loss of democratic self-government as the price of economic prosperity.”
But he added that “people can see the emperor has no clothes and that Britain could have a glorious future outside the EU”. “They all know that there is one event in the next few weeks that could remind the British people of at least one salient point in this debate – that this country has lost control of its frontiers – and that is another migration crisis on the borders of the EU, and within the EU itself.”
Tory former cabinet minister John Redwood said the EU exit forecast for 2030 is completely worthless. Speaking on the Today programme he said: “It’s an absurd claim from the Treasury.
“I’m very sorry they degenerated to these levels.” Eurosceptic Cabinet Minister Chris Grayling added he would “not accept a document of doom and gloom” from the Treasury. He will share a stage with UKIP’s Nigel Farage for the first time in a bid to make a case for a ‘Brexit’.
A source close to the Treasury insisted: “Every alternative to EU membership has significant economic costs. The document is a serious, sober analysis and it will show that the hit to the economy of a vote to leave would not just be temporary but permanent because of lower trade and investment.”