• IMF spell out series of bleak warnings about Brexit
  • Out vote will send house prices plummeting
  • Lagarde: ‘Nothing’ positive about Brexit
  • Impact from ‘pretty bad to very bad’
  • Bombshell report to come out days before vote
  • Sir John Major: Outers should apologise over ‘untruths’
  • Jeremy Corbyn heads to Liverpool to sign up voters

Summary of IMF warnings and backlash

By Steven Swinford and Szu Ping-Chan

The International Monetary Fund has been accused of trying to “bully” British voters into staying in the EU after it pledged to publish a report warning of the risk of a Brexit on the eve of the EU referendum.

Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, said yesterday that a vote to leave the EU would have “pretty bad to very, very bad consequences” and could lead to a recession.

She said that a Brexit will lead to would lead to a stock market crash and a steep fall in house prices as she pledged to publish a more detailed analysis a week before the referendum on June 23.

She defended the decision to intervene on the eve of the referendum campaign despite having delayed a report ahead of the General Election amid concerns it would impact on the result.

Priti Patel, the eurosceptic employment minister, accused George Osborne of encouraging the IMF to “bully” the British people.

She said: “The IMF warned Britain it was playing with fire when it set out a plan to deal with the deficit. “Now our economy is stronger than nearly every other major economy.

“Today, the IMF is talking down Britain because we want to take back control from Brussels. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.”The EU-funded IMF should not interfere in our democratic debate a week before polling day.

“It appears the Chancellor is cashing in favours to Ms Lagarde in order to encourage the IMF to bully the British people – it is a sign of the desperation in the IN campaign.”

Mrs Lagarde said she had “not seen anything that’s positive” about Brexit and warned that it could “lead to a technical recession”.

She said that a Brexit could have a “negative and substantial effect” and lead to “severe regional and global damage”. She insisted that she had a duty to assess the risks of a Brexit.

When asked whether the Treasury had an input into the report, she replied: “heck no”.

In its report the IMF said that a Brexit vote would result in a “protracted period of heightened uncertainty” and could result in a sharp rise in interest rates.

London’s status as a “global financial centre” would be at risk of being “eroded”, the report said. The IMF suggested that concerns about a Brexit may have affected UK markets in recent months, according to the IMF.

It pointed to a 40 per cent decline in the number of commercial real estate transactions in the first three months of the year.

The Chancellor: “The IMF also put to rest the fallacy that has been peddled by those who say Britain will have more money for public services if we are not paying into the EU budget.

“The IMF are very clear today – the hit to growth we could expect from a vote to leave would cost our public finances more than the amount we would gain from no longer contributing to the EU budget.”

However Lord Lamont, the former conservative Chancellor who is campaigning for a Brexit, said: “This daily avalanche of institutional propaganda is becoming ludicrous and pitiful. Important institutions are being politicised and used to make blood-curdling forecasts.

“There are plenty of respected individual economists, plenty of respected professional investors, and plenty of entrepreneurs who take a very different view from Christine Lagarde and who have probably been better at foreseeing the future than the IMF.”


Corbyn: ‘Unlikely’ UK would have free trade with EU after Brexit

Asked about the latest warnings from the IMF, he says “there are problems because of the level of trade between Britain and Europe”.

He added that he believes it’s “unlikely” we would have no trade tariffs if Britain left the EU. Corbyn told the crowd the government is “holding young people back”.

He also claimed that those funding the Leave campaign are often people that “want us to go into the bargain basement on taxation, on regulation, on workers’ safety. I don’t want to go in that direction”.


Corbyn urges young Britons to ‘grasp the nettle’ and vote to stay in EU

This just in from our political correspondent Laura Hughes who is with Mr Corbyn in Liverpool:

Jeremy Corbyn is speaking in Liverpool to a group young activists.

He kicks of by thanking everyone who has campaigned for justice in Hillsborough and  he says he admires the families who stuck it out for so long.

He says the Party’s membership has doubled in the last year, but Labour’s youth membership has more than trebled.

He boasts that there are more Labour Party members under 27 than Ukip or the Lib Dems have in total membership.

Corbyn says only 47 per cent of young people who registered voted in the last election actually turned up at the ballot box. “Beat the system” and vote, he bellows.

“If you are concerned about working conditions, the environment and trade agreements- register to vote”, he says.Now onto the EU, he says he’s campaigning for us to stay in despite having “deep and severe criticism” of some areas of the bloc.

“I want to work with people across Europe” and deal with the refugee crisis, he says.

“It fills me with hope to know that our movement is reaching out to young people again, because it is you that must shape your future. The people who will be most affected by the decision we make in next month’s EU referendum will not be my generation, but your generation.”

The Labour leader says it’s young people who will make the difference in this referendum.

On Labour’s campaign to remain and reform, Corbyn insists Labour is committed to a vote to stay in the EU and create a real social Europe for the future.

“We will be campaigning across the country to explain why we are convinced that staying in the European Union offers us the best hope of meeting the challenges facing our people and our continent in the 21st century,” he says.

“That goes hand in hand with an agenda for progressive reform in Europe: to increase democratic accountability, tackle tax avoidance and climate change, and strengthen workers’ rights across the European Union.

Read the rest:



IMF Doubles Down on ‘Brexit’ Warning

U.K. economy could be between 1% and 9% smaller over the long term than if it remained a member

Vote Leave badges sit displayed on a Union Jack flag. Proponents of leaving the bloc say the economy would thrive outside the EU.
Vote Leave badges sit displayed on a Union Jack flag. Proponents of leaving the bloc say the economy would thrive outside the EU.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS

The Wall Street Journal
Updated May 13, 2016 9:17 a.m. ET

LONDON—The International Monetary Fund said a British vote to leave the European Union could have significant and negative effects on the U.K. economy, the latest contribution by an international institution to the fierce debate over Britain’s future in Europe.

At the conclusion of a regular health check of the U.K. economy, the IMF said on Friday that a vote in the June 23 referendum to leave the EU could “precipitate a protracted period of heightened uncertainty, leading to financial market volatility and a hit to output.”

Other short-term impacts could include falling equity and real-estate prices, higher borrowing costs for businesses and households, and a decline in foreign investment.

The IMF added that the long-term costs to the economy could be substantial, citing research showing the economy could shrink by 1% to 9% over the long-term if the U.K. left the EU. The fund said it would publish its own detailed analysis of the potential economic impact of a British exit from the EU, or Brexit, in mid-June.


Brexit Would Lead to 6% Drop in U.K. GDP, Government Warns (April 18)
Pro-‘Brexit’ Economists Make Case for U.K. Exit From EU (April 28)
Obama Urges U.K. to Remain in EU (April 25)

Leaving the EU represents “a significant downside risk,” said IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde at a news conference. The former French finance minister added the uncertainty around the outcome of the vote is generating anxiety around the world.
The economic impact has become a central issue of the debate in the U.K. over Britain’s continued membership.

Supporters of remaining in the EU, spearheaded by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, argue that leaving would be damaging to Britain’s economy. But proponents of Britain’s exit, or so-called Brexit, dispute that and argue that quitting the bloc would ultimately make Britain richer by allowing freer trade with other parts of the world and by reducing the burden of regulation on businesses.

Priti Patel, a government minister and member of Mr. Cameron’s Conservative Party who supports Brexit, said the IMF has been wrong in its forecasts for the British economy in the past and shouldn’t be listened to now, accusing it of “interfering” in a democratic debate.

Assuming the U.K. chooses to stay in the bloc next month, the IMF said it expects the economy to grow about 2% this year and around 2.25% in 2017.

The fund signaled that even if Britons choose to stay, the economy would still face some challenges. In its advice to policy makers, the fund said British officials will need to keep a close eye on the real-estate market, which is showing some signs of overheating. The fund said the Bank of England may need to step in to cool the market if prices and mortgage borrowing continue rise rapidly. The central bank is equipped with “macroprudential” powers that allow it to slap limits on risky mortgage lending, for example, and the fund said it may need to consider using them.

The fund was broadly supportive of U.K. economic policy, saying Treasury chief George Osborne’s goal of eliminating Britain’s budget deficit by 2020 was “appropriate” and that Bank of England interest-rate policy should help return inflation to its annual 2% target while supporting growth.

Write to Jason Douglas at jason.douglas@wsj.com