Poll: 90% of economists fear Brexit

Nine out of 10 of Britain’s top economists working in London’s City financial district, small business and academia believe the economy will be harmed if Britain leaves the European Union, a poll said yesterday.

The poll, which the Observer newspaper said was the biggest of its kind, drawing responses from more than 600 economists, is a boost for Prime Minister David Cameron, who is leading the campaign for Britain to stay in the 28-member bloc at a referendum on June 23.

Carried out by pollster Ipsos-MORI, the poll found that 88% of those asked said an exit from the EU and the single market would damage Britain’s growth prospects over the next five years and 82% said there would probably be a negative impact on household incomes.

The newspaper said those surveyed were members of the profession’s representative bodies, the Royal Economic Society and the Society of Business Economists.

Campaigners on both sides of the argument have targeted the economy as one of the main battle grounds in what is becoming an increasingly bitter fight over Britain’s future.

‘Out’ campaigners say Britain would be freed from regulation and red tape if it left the European Union, able to negotiate its own trade deals without having to please 27 other countries.

But the ‘In’ campaign says Britain would suffer an economic downturn if it left, hurting the pound, jobs and wages.

Meanwhile, a survey of Irish SMEs has found more expect Brexit would have no direct impact on their business (46%) than those who fear it would (43%), should the UK vote to leave.

The research, carried out by software firm Big Red Cloud, found that just under half of the business owners surveyed felt Brexit would be “disastrous” for the Irish economy, however, while just a fifth thought it would have no effect.

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