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Economists believe leaving the EU would hurt growth and jobs

A poll commissioned for the Observer and carried out by Ipsos MORI, which drew responses from more than 600 economists, found 88% saying an exit from the EU and the single market would hurt Scotland and the UK's growth prospects over the next five years.

Those surveyed were members of the profession’s representative bodies, the Royal Economic Society and the Society of Business Economists, and all who contributed did so voluntarily.

Paul Johnson, director of the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the findings, from a survey exceptional in its size, showed a level of unity.

“For a profession known to agree about little, it is pretty remarkable to see this degree of consensus about anything,”

“It no doubt reflects the level of agreement among many economists about the benefits of free trade and the costs of uncertainty for economic growth.”

The economists were also overwhelmingly pessimistic about the long-term economic impact of leaving the EU and the single market.

Some 72% said that a vote to leave would most likely have a negative impact on growth for 10-20 years.

The main reasons cited by economists as to why the UK would suffer were “loss of access to the single market” (67%) and “increased uncertainty leading to reduced investment” (66%). 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UK’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research agree that there will be a loss of output as foreign investment shrivels and international businesses and banks shift work to the continent. 

Analysis released by the IFS last week showed that leaving the EU in the vote on 23 June would lead to a £40bn hole in the public finances.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

"people are looking for information to help them make up their minds, and groups such as academics, along with friends and family and small businesses, are among the most trusted – especially for remain supporters.”

 

You can read the full details of the poll here