EU referendum: Brexit would leave UK richer rather than poorer say economists
Britain would be financially boosted by leaving the European Union, a group of British economists said on Thursday (28 April), dismissing claims that the UK would be worse off if it left the 28-country bloc.
Ahead of the upcoming 23 June referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, economists said Britain would benefit from being outside the union as it would no longer be subject to EU labour laws. At the same time, they said concerns over the future of Britain’s export industry in the event of a Brexit were overblown.
Patrick Minford, a professor of economics at Cardiff University, said within a decade of leaving the 28-country union, Britain’s economy would be approximately 4% bigger than if a ‘Remain’ vote was to prevail in June.
Parting ways with the ‘red tape’ of EU regulations and lower tariff barriers would deliver an important boost to the economy, to the point where Britain should not even consider securing a trade deal with Brussels. Instead, the UK should allow its import and export industries to be governed by the tariffs agreed at the World Trade Organisation, said Minford.
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However, Minford, who was speaking alongside Roger Bootle, head of consultancy Capital Economics, and Gerard Lyons, economic adviser London Mayor Boris Johnson, said the benefit of trade deals was overestimated.
“There is no need for us to go off chasing a million trade deals with the rest of the world. They are irrelevant.”
He added that by exiting the EU and scrapping tariffs on imports of food and manufactured goods, Britain would be cut average prices by as much as 8%, although he admitted car manufacturers and farmers would suffer from limited exports to the EU.
The leading pro-Europe campaign, Britain Stronger In Europe, described Minford’s apparent acceptance of a decline in the manufacturing and farming industry as ‘clueless’, adding he advocated the “worst of all worlds”.
Earlier in April, the International Monetary Fund warned that a Brexit would deal a severe blow to the global economy, while US President Barack Obama stressed Britain had a crucial role to play within the European Union.
Obama added the UK would be at the “back of the queue” for any trade deal with the US if the country broke away from the EU. However, supporters of the ‘Leave’ campaign, which include London Mayor Boris Johnson, have dismissed the warnings as scaremongering tactics.