Osborne turns fire on 'Out' plan to leave EU single
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[May 16, 2016]
By Andy Bruce
STANSTED, England (Reuters) - Chancellor
George Osborne attacked pro-Brexit campaigners for saying Britain should
not just leave the European Union but also its single market, as he
sought to convince voters that the economy faces big risks in next
Osborne said Britain would lose 200 billion pounds ($287 billion) a
year in trade in 15 years' time and miss out on the same amount in
foreign investment, if it fell back on World Trade Organization
rules to govern its ties with the EU after a Brexit.
"Leaving the EU is a one-way ticket to a poorer Britain," Osborne
told media in an aircraft hangar at Stansted Airport, northeast of
London, where the head of airline Ryanair said his firm could lower
investment after an "Out" vote.
Opinion polls have shown that voters tend to think that staying in
the EU would be better for Britain's economy but they also remain
almost evenly split between those who want to stay in the bloc and
those who want to leave.
As part of a relentless series of warnings about the economic risks
of Brexit, Osborne's finance ministry is due to publish a report on
the short-term impact of an "Out" vote soon.
A leading supporter of the "Vote Leave" campaign, justice minister
Michael Gove said earlier this month that Britain should also leave
the single market after a Brexit.
If a post-Brexit Britain wanted to remain part of the single market,
it would probably face demands from the rest of the bloc to keep its
borders open to EU workers and to continue paying into the EU's
budget, just as Norway and Switzerland do.
The "Out" campaign has put stopping high levels of immigration and
Britain's contributions to the EU budget at the center of their
message to voters.
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Osborne spoke on Monday alongside former Labour Party economics
spokesman Ed Balls, who was long a critic of Osborne, and former
business minister Vince Cable, a senior member of the opposition
Liberal Democrat party. Balls and Cable both said Britain risked
economic damage if it left the EU.
Osborne also accused the "Out" campaign of resorting to conspiracy theories
ahead of the referendum for calling into question the motives of global bodies
such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development when they spoke of the economic risks of Brexit.
"The economic argument is beyond doubt. It's not a conspiracy, it's called a
consensus," Osborne said.
($1 = 0.6972 pounds)
(Additional reporting by David Milliken; Writing by William Schomberg; Editing
by Andrew Heavens)
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