Tuesday 21 June 2016 1:58 pm

EU referendum: Prime Minister David Cameron says "economy is paramount" as he makes last ditch plea to older voters

In a last ditch appeal for votes to remain in the EU, Prime Minister David Cameron has said that staying in Europe is "above all about our economy".

In a direct appeal to British voters in a speech outside 10 Downing Street, Cameron said: "[The economy] will be stronger if we stay; it will be weaker if we leave, and that is a huge risk to Britain, to British families, to British jobs and it is irreversible. There is no going back."

Cameron pointed to economic analyses suggesting that staying in the EU is better for the economy, and forecasting a short-term recession followed by higher prices, lower wages and fewer jobs in the long-term.

"Our economic security is paramount: it is stronger if we stay, if we leave we put it at risk," he said.

"It's also about our national security too. My job is to act, to make the right call, to use every tool at my disposal to protect our country, to protect you, to protect your children. I would not be standing here encouraging you to vote to remain in the EU if I thought the EU stopped me from doing that.

"The reality is the opposite. Our membership of the EU helps me. I've seen first hand in these dangerous times how we can better cooperate with our friends and neighbours."

Read more: Johnson claims government lent on business to back Remain

Cameron addressed core concerns of voters ahead of the vote on Thursday. Polling over the last few weeks has indicated the vote could go down to the wire.

Analysis of polls has also shown that the economy and security are key concerns of voters.

"Being part of the EU also gives us strength in the world," Cameron continued. "We aren't any old country: we are a special country, one whose language, whose values, whose influence is felt the world over."

"If I felt that remaining in the EU diminished us, i would recommend we voted to leave. but it doesn't, it amplifies our power. When we are in these organisations we become a bigger force in the world, with a bigger influence in the world. And in the EU, with 27 countries behind us, we can take a stronger lead in tackling climate change, fighting disease and poverty, standing up to Russian aggression, helping our friends in South East Asia, Australasia, the Caribbean.

Read more: Putin would be smiling at Brexit as opponents would love a Leave vote, says William Hague

"And we can promote and preserve the values we hold so dear, like democracy, like freedom, like tolerance."

The PM added that if the UK voted for Brexit, the UK's neighbours will "go on making decisions about us, without us".

"I know I haven't got every decision right and I know not everyone has been happy with everything I've done," but said that all Prime Ministers have known the UK is stronger in the EU.

He went on to say that he wants to speak to those of "my generation and older", as it will be future generations that will suffer from Brexit.

Polling has found that younger voters are more inclined to support Remain compared to older voters.

"I know Europe isn't perfect. That's why we negotiated and enhanced our special status. Out of the Euro, keeping our borders, not involved in ever-closer union. We have the best of both worlds," he said.

"So as you take this decision, do think about the hopes and dreams of your children" and "remember, they can't undo the decision we take".

Speaking to the BBC, Steve Hilton, Cameron's former advisor, said: "What you just saw from the prime minister was an admission that they’ve lost the economic argument, they’ve lost the argument on immigration, so he’s being wheeled out by rather panicky spin doctors to try to change the subject."

Hilton earlier today claimed that Cameron was told in 2012 by civil servants that it was "impossible" to reach the government's target of getting net migration down to the tens of thousands while in the EU.

Vote Leave declined to comment.