British people would be voting to “self-destruct” if they choose to leave the European Union, British Prime Minister David Cameron said.
Leaving the EU would be economic self-destruction for Britain, shattering stability, Cameron explained on Monday, presenting a finance ministry report warning of recession, a tumble in the pound, and half a million job losses.
Cameron and finance minister George Osborne, who are campaigning for Britain to stay in the EU in the June 23 referendum, have warned that households would be hurt by a fall in the value of their homes and face costlier foreign holidays if they voted “Out”.
In the event of Brexit, the Treasury analysis forecasts,: a fall in GDP of between 3.6% and 6%; a plunge in the value of sterling; lower house prices; a reduction in wages of between 2.8% and 4%; more than half a million job losses; more borrowing; and higher inflation.
“It would be a DIY recession,” Cameron said in a speech at the offices of the B&Q retail chain, a popular centre for do-it-yourself home improvement, in Eastleigh in southern England.
Cameron has previously cautioned that leaving the EU would jeopardize Britain’s recovery from the economic damage caused by the world financial crisis. He said it would not make sense to have undergone “pain and sacrifice” after the 2008 financial crisis just to throw away the progress.
Recent opinion polls have shown voters are leaning towards an “In” decision on June 23, but pollsters say the outcome remains too close to call. Betting odds indicate 80-85 percent probability of an “In” vote.
Some polls have also shown the economy growing in importance as an issue for voters, something the “Out” campaign has sought to counter by stressing that only leaving the EU can slow high levels of migration and avoid future economic stagnation.
The campaign backing a British EU exit said the Treasury had consistently produced flawed reports and the latest analysis was biased as it provided nothing on the upside of leaving the bloc, nor on the potential negatives caused by a crisis in the euro zone.
“What they’ve done is they assumed a disaster and then spelled out the details,” Nigel Lawson, a finance minister under the late Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, told BBC TV.
“They’ve done this in order to scare the pants off the British people because they can’t find anything positive to say about the European Union.”