Staying in the EU single market could add two years' worth of growth to Britain's economy, experts claim

Staying in the EU single market could add almost two years’ worth of growth to Britain’s economy, experts said today.

Members of the Brussels trade club could boost output by up to 4%, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The think-tank claimed the uplift to the country’s trade, public finances, growth and living standards far outweigh the costs of being in the single market.

It warned that simply having access rather than membership of the single market was “virtually meaningless”.

Getty A pedestrian shelters from the rain beneath a Union flag themed umbrella as they walk near the Big Ben clock

The IFS has already warned Brexit could cost the UK £20billion

Report author Ian Mitchell said: “There is all the difference in the world between ‘access to’ and ‘membership of’ the single market.

“Membership is likely to offer significant economic benefits particularly for trade in services.

“But outside the EU, single market membership also comes at the cost of accepting future regulations designed in the EU without UK input.”

The IFS issued dire warnings over the potential impact of Brexit in the run-up to the EU referendum.

Clip purse with Union Jack design stuffed with pound notes Quitting the EU could unleash two more years of austerity, it has been claimed

Quitting the 28-nation bloc would unleash two more years of austerity, it said.

Lower growth and extra borrowing of Brexit would knock a £20billion to £40billion hole in the Government’s finances by 2020, according to tis experts.

Its latest study said Britain now faces some “very big choices” in negotiations with the EU.

The IFS said: “Any country in the World Trade Organization – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – has ‘access’ to the EU as an export destination.

“Single Market ‘membership’ by contrast involves elimination of barriers to trade in a way that no existing trade deal, customs union or free trade area achieves

“Membership may come at the cost of continuing to contribute to the EU Budget and accepting future regulations designed in the EU.

“Those costs are salient and the benefits of membership are diffuse – but the financial benefits are real and, at the moment at least, likely to outweigh the financial costs.”

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