EU referendum: David Cameron warns Brexit will hit poor people hardest in final PMQs before vote
David Cameron used the final Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session (15 June 2016) before the EU referendum to issue another Brexit warning. The Conservative leader claimed the UK’s poorest would be hit hardest if the country broke away from Brussels after the historic ballot on 23 June.
“It is always the poorest and those with least who get hit hardest if an economy suffers a recession, and I think there are two ways in which the cost of living could be impacted. If we leave the single market, go to World Trade Organisation rules, we would have tariffs impost on the goods that we sell to Europe, and that would make us suffer,” Cameron told MPs.
“But also if the pound is to fall, which many independent experts forecast, the cost of living rises, the cost of a family’s shop rises, the cost of the family holiday rises – it’s not worth the risk, we shouldn’t risk it and we should keep our country safe.”
The comments came after Chancellor George Osborne also warned of the economic implications of a Leave vote, claiming a Brexit would trigger deep spending cuts and sharp tax rises.
The top Conservative said a ‘Brexit budget’ would see public spending slashed to tackle a £30bn black hole.
Osborne, speaking alongside former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, said: “Quitting the EU would hit investment, hurt families and harm the British economy. As Chancellor, I would have a responsibility to try to restore stability to the public finances and that would mean an emergency Budget where we would have to increase taxes and cut spending.
“Far from freeing up money to spend on public services, as the Leave campaign would like you to believe, quitting the EU would mean less money. Billions less. It’s a lose-lose situation for British families, and we shouldn’t risk it.
“If you doubt it, look at what’s happening on financial markets. The economic uncertainty the Leave campaign blithely insists won’t be caused by a vote to Leave is already being seen.”
But German-born Labour MP Gisela Stuart, the chair of Vote Leave, hit back at Darling and Labour for supporting Osborne’s proposals. “I simply can’t believe that Alistair Darling and the Labour Party would support an Osborne punishment budget that is designed to hit the poorest hardest.
“George Osborne’s reckless and shameful proposals would, if not blocked, cut the NHS, cut pensions and cut funding for schools, and I will never vote for this, and nor do I think will any of my Labour colleagues.
“I hope the Labour Party will now make clear that these desperate proposals would never have our support, and are nothing more than another sorry attempt to scare the British people into supporting George Osborne, David Cameron, and their rich friends, who want us to remain in the EU.”
With just eight days to go before the referendum, the latest online ComRes survey for The Sun, of more than 1,000 people between 9 and 13 June, put Remain on 46% (-6) and Leave on 45% (+4), with 9% of respondents undecided.