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Unprecedented support for Britain remaining in Europe from economists, scientists and academic experts

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  • 10 Nobel Prize-winning economists say “the economic arguments are clearly in favour of remaining in the EU”;
  • Over 5,000 scientists sign statement say leaving the EU would “stifle our science, innovation and jobs”;
  • Over 1,000 academics at UK universities say: “The interests of British universities and the knowledge economy they represent, as well as the wider future of the United Kingdom and of our continent, are best served by staying In”.

As reported today, the campaign for Britain to remain a member of the European Union has won the support of an unprecedented number of independent experts in economics, science, and other academic disciplines. It demonstrates that the experts are clear that Britain is stronger, safer and better off in Europe, while leaving would damage our economy and lessen our place in the world.

This sheer weight of support contrasts sharply with the total lack of serious independent backing for the Leave campaigns.

10 Nobel Prize-winning economists, including Kenneth Arrow, James Mirrlees, and Robert Solow, have united to state that “the economic arguments are clearly in favour of remaining in the EU”. They say that both firms and workers need continued access to the Single Market, while “Brexit would create major uncertainty about Britain’s alternative future trading arrangements”, which “would persist for many years”.

Also today, in the biggest such intervention ever, over 5,000 scientists have signed a statement saying that EU membership has “boosted our science networking, access to talent, shared infrastructure and UK science policy impact”. If we leave the EU, they warn, the UK will “lose its driving seat”, which would “stifle our science, innovation and jobs”. They include Nobel prize winner Sir Paul Nursel; President of Royal College of Psychiatrists Simon Wesseley; and former President of the Science Council Sir Tom Blundell.

It comes as over 1,000 academics from other disciplines, including history, classics, economics and languages, write an open letter in support of continued British membership of the EU. They say “the interests of British universities and the knowledge economy they represent” are best served by continued British membership of the EU.

The ten Nobel laureates say:

“Economic issues are central to the UK referendum debate. We believe that the UK would be better off economically inside the EU. British firms and workers need full access to the single market. In addition, Brexit would create major uncertainty about Britain’s alternative future trading arrangements, both with the rest of Europe and with important markets like the USA, Canada and China. And these effects, though on-off, would persist for many years.

“Thus the economic arguments are clearly in favour of remaining in the EU.”

The 5,000 scientists say:

“The EU leads the world in science output, is beating the US in science growth – and is rapidly increasing investment in research.

“If we leave the EU, the UK will lose its driving seat in this world-leading team. Free-flow of talent and easy collaboration would likely be replaced by uncertainty, capital flight, market barriers and costly domestic red-tape. This would stifle our science, innovation and jobs.”

The 1,000 academics say:

“As academics from a variety of disciplines, we wish for Britain to remain in the European Union.

“Each of us brings his or her own perspectives, disciplinary, political, and personal, to the debate that will be resolved at the ballot-box on 23 June 2016. But each of us believes that the interests of British universities and the knowledge economy they represent, as well as the wider future of the United Kingdom and of our continent, are best served by staying In.”

/ENDS

Notes to editors:

The letters are reported today in the i and the Guardian.

10 Nobel Prize-winning economists:

George Akerlof
Kenneth Arrow
Angus Deaton
Peter Diamond
James Heckman
Eric Maskin
James Mirrlees
Christoper Pissarides
Robert Solow
Jean Tirole

Full text of the statement signed by over 5,000 scientists:

“Scientific advance and innovation are critically dependent on collaboration. To remain a world-leading science nation, we must be team players.

“The EU leads the world in science output, is beating the US in science growth – and is rapidly increasing investment in research. The EU is a science superpower. Our place in this team has boosted our science networking, access to talent, shared infrastructure and UK science policy impact. The economy of scale streamlines bureaucracy and brings huge added value for all. International collaborations have 40% more impact than domestic-only research.

“Strong science is key for our economy and quality of life. It creates a virtuous cycle, leveraging investment from industry, raising productivity and creating high-value jobs for our future. In fact, 20% of UK jobs currently rely on some science knowledge. Science brings better medicines, cleaner energy, public health protections, a safer environment, new technologies and solutions to global challenges.

“If we leave the EU, the UK will lose its driving seat in this world-leading team. Free-flow of talent and easy collaboration would likely be replaced by uncertainty, capital flight, market barriers and costly domestic red-tape. This would stifle our science, innovation and jobs.

“It is no surprise that a recent survey showed 93% of research scientists and engineers saying the EU is a “major benefit” to UK research. The surprise is that many voters are still unaware that UK science and its benefits would be demoted by a vote to leave.

“We, the undersigned, urge you to seriously consider the implications for UK science when you vote in the referendum on UK membership of the EU.”