Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at Stansted Airport to say 'British people will be poorer if they vote to leave EU'

PUBLISHED: 11:35 16 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:25 16 May 2016

Sir Vince Cable, George Osborne MP and Ed Balls.

Sir Vince Cable, George Osborne MP and Ed Balls.


Three political heavyweights from different parties joined together at Stansted Airport today (Monday) saying it will "be a huge mistake for Britain to leave the EU".

George Osborne and Michael O'LearyGeorge Osborne and Michael O'Leary

Conservative MP George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, stood side by side with former Liberal Democrat MP and Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable and former Labour MP Ed Balls to make the case for Britain to remain in the European Union.

Mr Osborne said: “We have clashed repeatedly in the House of Commons over the years but there is now one thing we all think - it would be a huge mistake for Britain to leave the European Union and the single market.”

He added: In the past week we have seen two defining moment in the campaign. The first was the 24 hour period when both the monetary policy committee of the Bank of England and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund told us that Britain’s economy would suffer if we left the EU.

“Their message could not have been clearer. Britain will be poorer and British people will be poorer.

Chancellor George Osborne meets Ryanair staff.Chancellor George Osborne meets Ryanair staff.

“A vote to leave could see family incomes fall, growth hit and borrowing costs rise.”

Mr Osborne told a small audience: “It was difficult to think of more credible observers of the UK economy than the IMF and the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England.

“They join a line of observers that range from the OECD to the London School of Economics to the eight former US treasury secretaries to the president of the United States of America, to the prime minister of Japan, to the leaders of Australia and New Zealand.

“Indeed the whole of the G20 say that Britain leaving the UK would come with an economic cost.

Michael O'LearyMichael O'Leary

“What has the response of the leave campaign? They say it’s all a massive conspiracy.

“The next thing we know is the leave camp will be accusing us of faking the moon landing, kidnapping Shergar and covering up the existence of the Loch Ness monster.

“The response from the leave campaign has not be credible or serious.

“There is a reason why they three of us are here today, putting aside our very obvious differences, and that is, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s a consensus.”

He added: “Britain will be worse off if we leave the EU. British families will be worse off to the equivalent of £4,300 per household.

“Leaving the EU is a one way ticket to a poorer Britain.

“This emergence of this overwhelming consensus has been one of the defining moments of the last week. But there is now a second key development, and that is the leading advocates for Britain leaving the EU have finally conceded, after weeks of evasive answers, that not only do they want Britain to leave the EU, they want us the leave the single market too.

“It’s a major admission from the leave campaign and a major moment as it means we can begin to quantify just what the economic costs of leaving are.

“It’s important for everyone in Britain to understand what the single market is. This is the arrangement that Margaret Thatcher took us into in the 1980s, the arrangement that the House of Commons under Labour, Conservative and coalition governments has endorsed. The single market gives British companies, and the people who work for them, access to half a billion customers. It’s the world’s largest trading area and it means if you sell something like a car or an aeroplane engine or a plane ticket or a food product, they can all be sold to consumers in other European countries without paying tariffs or customs. In other words, there’s no extra costs to selling to our neighbours and it means that us as customers can buy those things produced by our European neighbours without paying extra costs for doing so.

“The single market is more than just a trade area, it’s a sense of common standards. It means that when we are buying products from companies, we know they are safe, they don’t cause things like environmental damage, the labelling is accurate, that you know what you are going to pay for.

“If we leave the single market, we would lose all of that.

“I can tell you of the overall impact on Britain would be a disaster for the British economy.”

Mr Osborne used the latest Treasury statistics to say that within fifteen years of leaving the single market, Britain would suffer from at least £200billion less trade every year, and would miss out on at least £200b of overseas investment, leading to fewer jobs, lower incomes and higher prices.

Mr Balls said: “When the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer in our country say to me ‘would you come and be part of making an argument in the national interest?’ I said yes, because I think this is one of those moments.

“There are times to put party politics aside. If we, as a country, make the wrong decision in a few weeks’ time and we end up - on the Treasury analysis - being poorer and excluded for years to come, that will hit families really hard, it will hit businesses really hard.”

He added: “The likes of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are currently saying this WTO option is acceptable, they are saying the single market is not important.

“But it will not be them who is hit hardest by lower wages and higher prices, it will be working people.”

Sir Vince told the audience of Ryanair staff and business leaders: “The single market wasn’t the vision of Brussels Eurocrats, let alone of Hitler and Napoleon. It was a proposal that came from a British government led by Mrs Thatcher.

“The single market was a British vision of an open Europe.”

He added: “The juvenile caricatures that we often get from the pens of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson and others - the straight bananas, the square strawberries, the smaller condoms - they are not just silly and fabricated, but actually they miss the central point, that the single market and its rules are designed to reduce administrative barriers to trade.”

In response, Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott said: “George Osborne appeared today alongside one man [Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary] who thinks that the EU is an evil empire and another who said that the Chancellor does not understand economics.

“Mr Osborne is panicking about his failing campaign so he is resorting to ever more lurid scare stories. His problem is that he’s told so many tall tales that people no longer believe what he and David Cameron say on the EU any more.”

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