Brexit would be ‘economic self-harm’ warns Cameron

A vote to leave the European Union in June's referendum would represent an "act of economic and political self-harm", Prime Minister David Cameron has warned.

David Cameron
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Cameron said a Brexit would result in the UK having a second-rate trading relationship with the rest of Europe.His comments came as a survey commissioned by PR firm Haggie Partners showed that more than two-thirds of traders at Lloyd's of London believed a vote to leave the EU would harm the UK's £60 billion-a-year insurance business.The report said that 68.7 per cent of brokers and insurers believed a Brexit would damage the industry while a quarter felt it would have no effect and 6.2 per cent considered it could be beneficial.The research was carried out for Haggie Partners by Dr Adrian Leonard, an associate director of the Centre for Financial History at University of Cambridge.He said, "Lloyd's centrally has clearly stated its preference for Britain to stay within the European Union, and this research shows that, from a business perspective at least, the vast majority of companies in the London market agree."In his article, Mr Cameron asserted that leaving the EU would "hit our service industries hard" as other European governments were likely to impose tariff barriers to protect their own industries from British competitors.The prime minister also rejected the idea that a Brexit could help protect the UK's beleaguered steel industry. "We are doing everything we can to help British steel in these difficult times, but the idea that leaving Europe is the answer is a dangerous fallacy: more than half of our steel exports go to Europe," he wrote."The longer this referendum campaign goes on, the clearer it becomes: those campaigning to leave Europe are inviting the British people to make an extraordinary choice – to be the first major economy in history to deliberately choose a second-rate, more restrictive trading relationship for its biggest market."Governments in the EU would come under tremendous pressure from their domestic firms to discriminate against the UK. And who is to say they wouldn't take the opportunity?"After all, why wouldn't the Spanish protect their largest telecoms provider? Why wouldn't the Germans try to give a leg-up to their insurance companies? Why wouldn't France adopt protectionist measures to penalise British banks?"When you look at the consequences of leaving this market, you have to ask: why on earth would we do this to ourselves? I believe it would be needless and reckless – an act of economic and political self-harm."A second survey, by professional services Deloitte found, in the first quarter of this year, 75 per cent of the finance chiefs from FTSE 350 and other large private companies backed Britain's continued membership – up from 62 per cent in the last quarter of 2015."The EU scores high marks with chief finance officers for its beneficial effects on UK exports, inward investment and financial services," the report said.

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