University of Leicester economist and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Hall is among leading researchers who have issued a stark warning on the risks of Brexit.
Twelve Nobel Prize winners and over 150 economists from across the UK argue that Brexit will likely lead to recession, job losses, inflation, less innovation, higher taxes, and cuts to services. They have published a statement that has appeared in the national press.
The Nobel laureates and other economists said: “Leave will say these points are Project Fear. We say they are Project Reality. The Leave campaign’s economics are built on dangerous fantasies.”
Professor Stephen Hall, University of Leicester Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the Department of Economics, said: “This is a crucial time for the UK, leaving would not be a vote for independence but a vote for isolation. Outside Europe we would have little influence on the world and its development. Inside Europe we would be a major player in the largest economic block in the world.”
Eric Beinhocker of the University of Oxford, one of the statement’s organisers, commented: “Michael Gove and other Brexiteers recently said they ‘have had enough of experts’. Well the experts have had enough of Leave misleading the British people. Brexit is a real and present danger to the economy and people’s livelihoods.”
Professor Sir John Hills of the LSE, said: “If Brexit occurs we know who will get the rough end of the austerity stick. It will be those on low and middle incomes who will bear the brunt of the job losses and cuts in benefits, tax credits, and public services.”
If Brexit occurs we know who will get the rough end of the austerity stick. It will be those on low and middle incomes who will bear the brunt of the job losses and cuts in benefits, tax credits, and public services
The statement also counters Leave claims on immigration, noting that unemployment is now 5%, lower than before EU enlargement, and that EU immigrants contribute more in taxes than they claim in benefits. It also notes that countries outside the EU, such as Norway, Switzerland and Australia have higher net migration relative to population than the UK.
But the statement also sees greater prosperity if Britain Remains: “Modern 21st century economies thrive on connections, trade, and exchanges between people and ideas.”
Professor John Van Reenen, head of the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE, adds: “The British economy is improving, unemployment is down and incomes are finally beginning to rise. We should not throw this progress away with Brexit.”
Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, former Chief Economist of the World Bank and President of the British Academy said: “These are not just opinions, they are based on serious, data driven studies by independent organisations. I’ve personally reviewed several of these studies in detail and think if anything they are conservative and underestimate the risks.”
Beinhocker added: “The media have reported Brexit as some economists say one thing, others say something else. But polls show only 4% of economists think Brexit will improve the economy (source: Ipsos/MORI 28 May), meanwhile these twelve Nobel Laureates and the vast majority of British economists agree Brexit will harm Britain’s economic prospects for many years. Rarely has the field been so united on an issue.”
In fact the economists feel so strongly they are publicising the statement by self-funding, along with contributions from friends, a full page ad in Tuesday’s Telegraph. Beinhocker noted: “If economists are spending their own money you know the risks from Brexit must be serious.”
A website with the statement and complete list of signatories is at EconomistsForRemain.org