EU referendum: Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave trade blows over Brexit jobs risk

Jake Cordell
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The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has been dragged into the latest scuffle between the official campaign groups
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has been dragged into the latest scuffle between the official campaign groups (Source: Getty)

If the UK leaves the European Union and the single market, London could miss out on tens of thousands of extra jobs, pro-EU campaigners have claimed, as Remain campaigners today seek to put forward the case for membership from manufacturers.

Analysis by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) for the official Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign found that if the EU completes all its various measures designed to strengthen the single market, 75,000 extra jobs will be created across the capital by 2030.

The square mile could benefit to to tune of an extra 17,320 banking roles, while across the UK more than 700,000 extra jobs could be created, CEBR found.

BSE spun the research to suggest hundreds of thousands of jobs were “at risk” from Brexit, but they were promptly slapped down by Leave campaigners for using “fifteen year old, discredited research”.

Read more: Treasury Select Committee slaps down both EU referendum campaigns

Vote Leave’s John Longworth, the former head of the British Chambers of Commerce said: “The jobs they refer to don’t even exist - so how can they be at risk?”

The argument hinges on what route Britain would take if it votes to leave the EU. The CEBR itself stuck by its own analysis which found leaving the EU but staying in the single market could boost the UK’s GDP by 2030.

Douglas McWilliams, president of the CEBR told City A.M.: “If we say in the single market then the effect net effect [of leaving] would be positive.” However, he added that BSE was partly justified in saying jobs would be at risk since top Vote Leave figures, including Michael Gove, have said they want to leave the single market if the UK heads for the exit door.

Read more: How much does the UK really contribute to the EU budget?

However, McWilliams questioned whether that would actually be feasible in the event of Brexit.

We would have to negotiate about 100 trade deals … that would paralyse Whitehall, it’s not something you want to do voluntarily,” he said.

The CEBR also went on to raise question marks over how likely Europe is to complete the reforms needed to create the extra jobs, which include finalising the US-EU free trade deal, finishing the single market in services, the energy union and undertaking financial sector reform.

“Some of them seem slightly less likely … The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), doesn’t look anything like as probable as at one stage,” McWilliams added.

It comes as part of a string of efforts today to showcasing the manufacturing case for Remain.

At a Remain campaign event today, the heads of Siemens, Airbus and GKN will all warn that future UK manufacturing jobs would be at risk outside of the EU single market, with new trade barriers forcing investment decisions elsewhere.

In addition, manufacturers association EEF will today issue a letter from 100 businesses saying that a Leave vote would make Britain “economically weaker”.

The EEF will say: “We could face years of uncertainty and – as most economic assessments from the IMF to the Treasury point out – we would certainly lose jobs and contracts overseas.”

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