Ninety per cent of economists say Brexit would harm UK growth
Almost 90 per cent of economists say leaving the EU would damage the UK’s growth prospects over the next five years, according to a new poll.
The survey commissioned for the Observer, thought to be the largest of its type ever conducted, found that economists working in academia, the city, industry, small businesses and the public sector thought Brexit would harm the British economy.
Some 82 per cent of more than 600 respondents said there would be a detrimental effect on household incomes over the next five years from leaving the EU, with 61 per cent of the view that unemployment would rise.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, seized on the figures, saying: "This poll confirms the overwhelming view of economists - leaving the EU would damage our economy, costing jobs and increasing prices.
"We are stronger, safer and better off in the EU."
Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies Paul Johnson said the survey, which saw 88 per cent of economists saying that Brexit would hinder Britain’s growth prospects, revealed a rare near consensus within the profession.
“For a profession known to agree about little, it is pretty remarkable to see this degree of consensus about anything,” he said.
“It no doubt reflects the level of agreement among many economists about the benefits of free trade and the costs of uncertainty for economic growth.”
A majority of participants, 57 per cent, also said that Brexit could cut GDP by more than three per cent over the next five years.
Only five per cent of economists thought there would be a positive impact from leaving the EU.
More than 70 per cent said leaving the EU would have a negative impact on growth for up to two decades.
Members of the Royal Economic Society and the Society of Business Economists took part in the poll.
“Loss of access to the single market” (67 per cent) and “increased uncertainty leading to reduced investment” (66 per cent) were cited as the main reasons for why the UK would be damaged by a vote to leave by economists.