Nation-Now Brexit: Treasury says U.K could lose billions

LONDON — Britain would lose $51 billion in tax income if it votes to leave the European Union, according to new research published by the country’s treasury Monday.

The loss of the cash would lead to higher government borrowing, large increases in tax or major cuts in public spending, the report said.

The report also said that in the event of a “Brexit — Britain’s exit from the EU — the country’s economy would shrink 6% by 2030, or $6,100 a year per household.

Britain will hold a referendum on whether to leave the EU on June 23.

Britain’s Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron is campaigning to remain in the 28-member bloc. 

If Britain leaves the EU, it could adopt three alternative models — retaining membership of the European Economic area like Norway; having a negotiated bilateral agreement similar to Switzerland, Turkey or Canada; or through membership of the World Trade Organisation like Russia or Brazil.

The Treasury said its research showed that the U.K. would be “permanently poorer” if it adopted any of the above models.

“All alternative relationships with the EU would mean a more closed economy, lower trade, lower investment, lower living standards,” said Britain’s finance chief George Osborne following the release of the report.

He added: “Name one international ally or serious financial institution which thinks a vote to leave on June 23 is a good idea for the U.K. There aren’t any.”

Nigel Farage, leader of the pro-Brexit, anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party, said Osborne “is now revealed as an EU fanatic.”

“George Osborne wants to lock (the) U.K. inside an outdated EU,” he tweeted. “I believe (the) U.K. can do much better than that — negotiating trade deals globally.”

Polls consistently show the vote will be close.  A survey by market research firm YouGov released Friday showed 40% of participants planned to vote to remain in the bloc and 39% wanted to vote to leave. Around 16% were undecided and 5% planned not to vote.

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