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BREXIT WATCH: 'Brexit will hit Capital' warns Osborne

The chancellor warned a vote to leave would be a major blow to the health of the UK economy and the Capital.
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The EU referendum is on June 23

June 21

George Osborne was due to deliver his Manor House speech last Friday that would detail what Brexit would mean for the British economy and the Capital. However it was called off following the shocking murder of MP Jo Cox.

The chancellor warned a vote to leave would be a major blow to the health of the UK economy and the capital.

Major banks such as HSBC and JP Morgan have said that jobs would be lost in the capital if Brexit goes ahead and the French economic watchdog agreed.

Mathilde Lemoine of France’s Office for Budget Responsibility told the press that London-based European transactions would inevitably shift to the Eurozone.

She reiterated the European Central Bank’s view that euro-dominated business worth billions would be better cleared on the continent.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Centre for Economic Performance have all predicted lower real wages in the event of Brexit, higher prices for goods and services, higher unemployment and higher borrowing costs.

“In our lifetimes we have never seen such a degree of unanimity among economists on a major policy issue,” the directors of the three institutions said in a joint statement released today.

“We would be financially worse off outside the EU than in is almost certainly true.”

Writing in the Guardian, legendary investor George Soros warned of “serious consequences” for British jobs and finances if the country leaves.

Soros famously made his fortune betting against the pound on Black Wednesday in 1992 when Britain left the ERM. He said Brexit would cause even bigger disruption.

Vote Leave’s chief executive Matthew Elliott accused Soros of wanting to give more power to Brussels.

“The EU is costly, bureaucratic and blind to the impact it had on people’s wages,” Elliott said in response to the Guardian piece.

And finally for the undecided, David Beckham was uncharacteristically eloquent in an impassioned appeal to the voting public to remain part of the EU:

“We live in a vibrant and coNNected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone.”

June 20

“The spectre of a breakup is haunting Europe,” said EU president Donald Tusk as the UK, and indeed the rest of Europe, prepares for the impending referendum.

With mere days to go, this morning saw a dawn chorus of Brexit-based opinion from across industry.

Investors were reacting to signs that Britain is more likely to remain, said commentators. By lunchtime, the FTSE 100 was up over 3% as Europhilic optimists jumped on the latest polls.

Online bookmaker Betfair reported that the implied odds of the UK remaining rose to around 77%.

Nonetheless, there is an air of urgency in the city today, which is only set to get more intense as the vote gets closer.

“With the referendum now just days away, investors will be desperate to return to normality,” said Sun Global Investments chief executive Mihir Kapadia.

Drinks group Diageo (LON:DGE) was mulling over the prospect of Britain leaving the EU. Chief executive Ivan Menezes told employees that a vote to remain would be “better for the UK, better for Diageo and better for the Scotch whisky industry that we remain in".

Menezes claimed Diageo benefited from the ease of access to the European market. He said that negotiating new deals after a Brexit could take years.

Virgin boss Richand Branson, who has long supported the Remain campaign, piped up saying leaving the EU would be “devastating” for the UK’s long-term prosperity.

"Although I've been living in the British Virgin Islands for some time now, I have never stopped caring passionately about the UK and its great people. I am one of the few business people who can remember how difficult it was before the EU was formed," wrote Branson in an open letter to UK citizens.

Elsewhere, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders warned that Brexit would threaten jobs in the industry and increase costs.

Directors at Toyota UK, Vauxhall, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW, as well as from component makers GKN and Magal Engineering, all voiced their support alongside the Society for a remain vote.

Chief executive of Vote Leave, Matthew Elliott however said that leaving the EU could actually help exports.

"A vote to leave could provide a boost to the industry as we would be free to sign free trade agreements with emerging markets - something we are currently forbidden from doing by the EU."

He also highlighted that the motor industry had been wrong before when it came to joining the euro.

"They were wrong then and they are wrong now," said Elliott.

Premier League boss Richard Scudamore also said that to leave would be incongruous with the league’s commitment to “opeNNess”.

But Vote Leave’s Robert Oxley retaliated and said that: "EU rules hurt both our ability to develop home grown talent and restrict access to the global talent pool,”

Former chairman of the Conservative Party Baroness Warsi switched camps today, it was revealed. Warsi told the Times that she could no longer support Leave after she saw UKIP’s “breaking point” anti-EU poster, saying it was a “step too far” and indicative of what she said was culture of xenophobia within the camp.

Vote Leave said it was not aware Lady Warsi had ever joined its campaign.

June 17

Campaigning in the Brexit campaign was put on hold as all sides paid tribute to Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered in her Birstall constituency yesterday.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared together in the West Yorkshire town to pay their respects.

Corbyn said Cox’s murder had been an attack on democracy while Cameron added that the whole nation was shocked while parliament had lost one of its most passionate and brilliant campaigners’.

A 52 year-old man, Thomas Mair, has been arrested for the killing.

Reports today indicated he had a history of mental health issues and interest in far-right groups, while eyewitness accounts said he had shouted “Britain first” during the attack.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, urged politicians involved in the Brexit debate to moderate their language.

“The exaggerations and radicalisation of part of the language do not help to foster an atmosphere of respect," she said when asked about the MP's death.

June 16

UK Steel has warned Britain against voting to leave the EU, saying Britain is best-placed to prevent cheap Chinese steel imports if it stays in the bloc.

The industry association said the EU is by far the largest steel market outside of the UK and it would be "folly" to break that link while the sector is battling for survival.

It comes after a controversy in which Leave backers accused the EU of stopping the UK from preventing imports of Chinese steel with regulations designed to promote competition.

But it later emerged that the UK government had itself voted against EU measures to increase tariffs against so-called 'dumping' of cheap Chinese steel on the European market.

UK Steel director Gareth Stace said it was "highly concerning" to hear the myths being peddled by Leave supporters, which were opportunistically seizing on the crisis facing the sector.

He said: "As a huge trading bloc, the EU has significantly more clout in discussions with China regarding the need to curb over-production and subsidised exports proving so damaging to our sector.

"Further to this, while it has been suggested that a UK free of the shackles of Brussels would be free to implement significant trade tariffs to guard against future dumping of Chinese steel, there is scant evidence that the government would actually do this.

"Indeed the European Commission has been keen to introduce more rigorous measures in this area, but has been prevented from doing so by UK interventions."

Stace added: “Furthermore, some have sought to claim that the EU is the cause of high energy prices for our big industrial users. It’s not.

“There are many reasons for the UK’s uncompetitive electricity prices and nearly all of them are home-grown and can be rectified by the UK Government.

"We only have to look at the significantly lower prices available to German industry to see the truth of this.

"Indeed, we estimate that less than 10% of the policy costs added to electricity prices may be linked to EU energy policy.

"The UK Government has taken significant action in this area, but we stress that it can and should do more - our EU membership has no bearing on its ability to do so."

June 15

Splits within the Conservative Party grew deeper today as George Osborne warned an emergency budget would follow soon after a vote to leave the EU.

The Chancellor said he might have to hike the basic rate of income tax by 2p to 22% and raise the higher rate by 3p to 43% to fill the £30bn black hole he predicted an EU exit would generate.

“Failure to deal with the hit to the public finances caused by Brexit would result in an "economic tailspin and a complete loss of confidence in the ability of the country to manage its money", said Osborne.

But Osborne's position itself would in doubt if he tried to make such a move, said a group of his parliamentary colleagues.

A group of 57 Tory MPs has put forward a proposal for his removal of the Chancellor if he calls an emergency budget in the event of a Brexit win. 

The Brexit MPs said the plan broke so many manifesto pledges that: “If the Chancellor is serious then we caNNot possibly allow this to go ahead”.

Labour, too, said it would not support any additional austerity measures.

June 14

Latest poll data suggests the United Kingdom is steering towards a BREXIT as the countdown to the June 23 vote.

Results from two polls, one by ICM and one by YouGov, reveal a big lead for the Leave campaign ahead of the referendum. According to the ICM poll the Brexiteers have a six point lead, whereas YouGov says the gap is seven points.

Other surveys in recent days have had different margins though the momentum in the data is plainly with Leave.

Also today there were suggestions coming from ministers behind the Leave campaign that current recipients of EU funding could still get their money.

Priti Patel, Tory MP and Leave supporter, claimed the UK government would have “more than enough money” if there was a Brexit.

Elsewhere, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is reportedly telling the whole of his party and calling on trade unions to campaign to keep Britain in the EU.

Labour claim jobs and worker’s rights are at risk if Britain votes to leave.

June 13

Lauri Hälikkä, a fixed income strategist at Nordic bank SEB, is having difficulty getting a handle on the views of the British regarding EU membership.

“With ten days left until the British EU elections, the first point we can reflect on is that the recent polls differ greatly and highlight different measurement methods and uncertainty among the British. Weighted are now suggesting that the ‘Leave’ camp is leading (46 per cent versus 44 per cent ‘Stay’),” Hälikkä notes.

“Secondly, the markets are on their toes. Polls on Friday lowered the pound by 1-1.5 per cent (showed ten per cent point lead for ‘Leave’). Debt and equity markets have begun increasingly to price in the risk of Brexit. Furthermore, we have assigned a 35 per cent probability for a Brexit. According to Bloomberg the probability is 25 per cent and slightly rising,” the analyst noted.

Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallström, indicated in a BBC interview that a vote to leave the EU could result in the disintegration of the European community. It was unclear whether she had any view on whether this would be a good or bad thing, but it is likely the Brexiteers would regard it as the former.

“One conclusion is that Pandora's box is already open regardless of a Brexit and requires action from Berlin, Paris and Brussels to hold cooperation together,” Hälikkä suggested.

“In addition, according to a poll from the Adam Smith Institute 54 per cent of British people want to have the ‘Norwegian model’ at Brexit (25 per cent say ‘no’),” the analyst added, without indication what proportion of Britain’s great unwashed even know what the Norwegian model is.

June 10

As footie competition Euro 2016 kicks off, a reminder from Wolfgang Schauble of what Britain can expect if it secedes.

In an interview with magazine Der Spiegel and leaked to the Guardian, the German finance minister suggests Britain is dreaming if it thinks somehow it can still be part of the single market without being part of the EU.

The Swiss and Norwegians may have an access arrangement but something similar for the UK is a non-starter, he said.

“If the majority in Britain opts for Brexit, that would be a decision against the single market. In is in. Out is out.

“At some point the British will realise they have made the wrong decision,” he adds, before seemingly undermining his own argument and highlighting perhaps the unease among other EU members by admitting that other countries such as the Netherlands may follow.

Meanwhile one of the mysteries of the campaign so far - where Labour actually stands - became a little clearer.

After much media goading, leader Jeremy Corbyn has almost apologetically admitted he is a Remain man.

But in an echo from the Scottish referendum, where Gordon Brown waded in with an impassioned speech, it seems that it will again be down to a former leader to do the heavy lifting.

Amid fears many Labour supporters are in fact Leave sympathisers, Ed Miliband entered the fray and accused exit campaigners of perpetuating a fraud on the electorate.

If so, some of the party’s veteran MPs have been taken in as both DeNNis SkiNNer and John MaNN shortly after came out in support of Brexit. 

June 9

Is Britain’s imminent EU referendum weighing down equities in all European markets?

City Index analyst Fawad Razaqzada reckons the contrast between European and US equities could not be more striking.

“Whereas the S&P 500 is just shy of its all-time high, in Europe, most major stock indices are still limping following their early 2016 wobble,” Razaqzada said.

“This is despite the ECB’s on-going bond buying programme is at full throttle, which has helped to push benchmark government bond yields to record lows with the German 10-year being just above zero and UK’s equivalent dropping to a fresh low today.”

He added: “Investors here must be holding fire either because of domestic growth fears or concerns about the potential implications of Britain leaving the EU.

“If the latter is the case, then a vote to stay in the EU, if seen, should lead to a big rally for European markets.”

Meanwhile, non-registered voters were facing an extended midnight deadline to register to vote in the referendum.

The deadline was put back after the government's voter registration website crashed under the pressure of people trying to register before the original deadline on Tuesday night.

So, if you missed the boat on Tuesday night, you've got another chance to register now. Click on the link below:

https://t.co/foV9P04QKN!

June 8

The EU referendum saga descended into chaos on Wednesday after a computer glitch left thousands of would-be voters unable to register before last night’s deadline.

Apparently, just after premier David Cameron and UKIP’s Nigel Farage had finished their duel – sort of – on ITV, there was a surge of demand on the voter registration website, causing it to crash.

There were 26,000 people on the site at 23:55 BST and 20,416 people using it at 12:01 BST, just after the deadline, the BBC reported.

And 525,000 people made last-minute attempts to register to vote during the day.

Most of those are understood to have been under the age of 44 – with younger voters widely believed to be more likely to vote Remain.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats – both in favour of staying in the EU - swiftly demanded an extension to the registration deadline, which the government duly set for midnight on Thursday.

But there were some muffled voices of dissent on the Leave side, which could lose if more younger voters turn out on June 23.

Conservative MP and Leave campaigner Bernard Jenkin said it might be legal to extend the deadline - but he had his doubts.

“Any idea of rewriting the rules in a substantial way would be complete madness and make this country look like an absolute shambles,” the BBC quoted him as saying.

June 7

The EU referendum mud was being slung again on Tuesday as Remainers accused Leavers of telling fibs.

David Cameron came up with "six false claims the Leave campaign have made", including alleging that the UK's EU rebate was at risk and that it could not stop EU spending rising.

In a snap press conference on a London rooftop, Cameron said the Leave camp was "peddling nonsense" and branded it irresponsible.

The PM also pointed to a warning from World Trade Organisation chief Roberto Azevedo that trade would still happen but could be on worse terms if the UK left the EU.

And he highlighted Hitachi boss Hiroaki Nakanishi's comments that the case for his company to invest in the UK would look "very different" in the event of a departure.

Hitachi has built a factory at Newton Aycliffe in the north-east to build a fleet of new high speed trains for the UK, but also wants to use it to export to Europe.

Nakanishi wrote in the Daily Mirror: "We worry because those advocating Brexit have no answer to how the UK could negotiate cost-free access to this huge market from a position outside it."

UKIP's only MP, former Tory Douglas Carswell, hit back at his former boss, saying the Remain camp was in a panic because of recent polls showing a Leave lead.

But the polling news was slightly better for Remain on Tuesday, with two polls from YouGov and ORB both showing narrow Remain leads.

Meanwhile, non-registered voters were being urged to sign up at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote before the deadline at midnight tonight.

So if you're not registered and you don't want your right to vote to turn into a pumpkin when the clock strikes 12, click on the link below now.

June 6

The pound took a hit two new polls showed a sizeable swing towards the Leave campaign.

An unconvincing TV performance from Prime Minister David Cameron, who argued the case to stay within the EU, is cited as one reason for the surge of support for Brexit.

A YouGov poll for ITV put the Leave camp 4 points ahead, by 45% to 41%, while an Observer poll had the gap at 44% to 40% in favour of an exit.

The pound dropped to a three week low against the US dollar of US$1.436, but economists warn that if momentum grows stronger behind the Leave campaign sterling will fall a lot further.

“If we see more of shift towards Leave then clearly we could see some of that depreciation come before the vote than after it,” said Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at research house Capital Economics.

A vote to leave the EU would initially see between a 10%-20% fall in the currency, he added.

June 3

As TV debates and appearances get into full swing, with just days to the vote to go,  a new poll shows big differences between older and younger voters.

BMG Research did an online poll, commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society,  of 1,68 people, which showed 47% of 18-24 year olds will definitely vote, but 80% of those aged 65 or older are definitely going to  put a cross in a box - or say they will.

Of younger voters,  only 16% said they felt well informed, around half the number for the older voters.

Meanwhile, JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon, appearing in Bournemouth today, where the group employs 16,000 people, will reportedly say he may have "no choice" but to reduce the bank's UK headcount and shift jobs to Europe in the event of Brexit.

June 1

The latest dire economic warning about the consequences of the UK leaving the EU met a predictable response from those advocating an exit.

Brexiteers branded a report from the organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) as biased and flawed.

The OECD cut its forecast for UK growth this year to 1.7%, down from 2.2%  predicted in February.

OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria said a decision to leave could leave the UK GDP more than 5% lower than it otherwise would have been by 2030.

Controversial former British Chambers of Commerce boss John Longworth dismissed the study, urging the public to listen to businesses rather than “partisan advisory bodies”.

But, unfortunately for Longworth, it appeared some of the continent’s biggest manufacturers had the same message.

German engineering giant Siemens and European aircraft maker Airbus (EPA:AIR) warned that a UK exit from the EU could spell the end of manufacturing in Britain.

They said years of doubt after a referendum decision to leave could wreck inward investment and put up to 2.6million jobs at risk.

And Mark Burgess at Columbia Threadneedle Investments zeroed in on the sectors that could suffer the most.

Banks could take the biggest hit, followed by retailers, insurers and property related stocks, Marketwatch quoted Burgess as saying.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll had the Remain and Leave camps on 41% each, contradicting Tuesday's ICM survey which put the Leave camp four percentage points ahead.

So maybe Brexiteers should up the pressure by slamming big corporates as well – but that may not leave the public with many people to listen to.

May 31

A survey of over 3,000 investors by crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom has pointed to around £2bn worth of assets at risk if the UK leaves the EU, with an average of £81,000 of invested assets per capita.

Almost half of the investment at risk is in the property market, according to the platform, with £900bn of property investment expected to be in danger. Savings, as well as investments could also be at risk if the UK voted in favour of leaving the EU. 55% of respondents expect their savings to be adversely affected by Brexit, a figure evenly reflected across households regardless of earnings.

The survey pointed to over half of the UK expect us to remain part of the EU. Voters across all demographics said they would reduce their household spending if the UK voted to leave.

"This research reveals that UK households would be adversely affected by a Brexit vote. At SyndicateRoom, we want to help individuals increase their net wealth through equity investment - and based on this research, it appears that is more likely and more achievable if the UK remains part of the EU."

Elsewhere, Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin served up a pint of euroscepticism in his latest attention-seeking stunt.

The pub chain has printed 200,000 beer mats bearing what the glorified pub landlord says is a "hard-hitting message" in favour of Brexit.

The pro-Brexit beer mats will be soaking up the spillage in 920 pubs across the UK leading up to the referendum.

May 27

"I am not a closet anything,” assured David Cameron, in response to claims by former adviser Steve Hilton that the prime minister was secretly a Brexit supporter.

“I have pretty much had the same view about Europe ever since I got involved in active politics," Cameron told delegates at the end of the G7 summit in Japan.

"I have never been a closet Brexiteer. I am absolutely passionate about getting the right result, getting this reform in Europe and remaining part of it. It's in Britain's national interest."

The prime minister welcomed a communique by the leaders pointing to the economic dangers of a vote by Britain to leave the EU.

The G7 joined the IMF, the Bank of England, the OECD, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Treasury in warning that leaving EU would have a negative impact on growth in the UK.

The Treasury today added to its previous analysis by warning that leaving the EU could reduce the value of the average pension pot by nearly £2,000.

But, former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith described that calculation as “utterly outrageous” and was an attempt to distract from higher immigration figures.

Hargreaves Lansdown said the Treasury’s forecast was “apocalyptic”.

“Pensioners would still be receiving increases pegged to inflation and so would maintain their standard of living,” said the broker.

It said a Leave vote could equally have a significantly beneficial impact, if certain underlying assumptions about a vote to leave were altered.

May 26

So far, the Brexit battle has been a largely domestic affair but now it seems the Europeans themselves have had enough watching from the sidelines.

Step forward Martin Selmayr, a senior aide to EU commission president Jean Claude Juncker.

His tweet likening Boris Johnson to notable right-wingers Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump sparked a predictably furious response from the Leave camp.

According to Selmayr, Johnson and these other potential leaders would represent a ‘horror scenario’.

But his boss Juncker was also at it as he questioned whether the former London Mayor’s comments about Brussels recently were based ‘in reality’.

Meanwhile, Johnson himself was trumpeting the latest UK immigration figures.

ANNual net migration to Britain rose to 333,000 in 2015, the second highest figure on record according to the ONS.

"We are adding a population the size of Oxford to the UK every year just from EU migration," said Johnson.

Net migration from the EU to the UK was estimated to be 184,000 in 2015  or 10,000 higher than the previous year.

David Cameron's renegotiation deal had “given away control of immigration and asylum forever” Johnson added.

May 25

The countdown continues with more on the possible consequences to the UK's finances in the event of Brexit and calls to those who want to vote to make sure they register in time.

The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is the latest to add some forecasts, saying that a leave vote could prolong UK austerity by two years.

The think tank says leaving the EU would cost the public purse  between £20 to 40bn in 2019/20, as the UK’s economic growth falls, if GDP was 2.1% to 3.5% lower over the period, as has been predicted by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

But proponents of the leave campaign dismissed the research, saying the IFS was part of the pro-EU establishment.

World Trade Organisation director-general Roberto Azevedo also weighed in with his own warning, saying an EU exit would cost the UK billions and would force it to re-negotiate its WTO membership - which could take several years.

Meanwhile, as is oft the case with elections, campaigners have urged people who want a say in the in/out vote to get on the electoral register - before June 7

Figures have suggested many people leave it too late to register and will be turned away, prompting campaigners to say millions could miss out.

May 24

Bank of England governor Mark Carney was accused of “rehashing propaganda” on the economic consequences of Brexit after he reiterated his stance on the referendum debate.

Speaking to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, Carney echoed Cameron and Osborne’s stark warnings yesterday, sparking a bitter debate.

“Brexit to my mind would have a material impact on growth and inflation. It would be likely to have a negative impact in the short term," he said to MPs.

His remarks came as the Bank of England’s quarterly inflation report warned that the economy could see lower growth, higher inflation and rising unemployment if the UK voted to leave.

Addressing the committee, Carney said: “I certainly think that would increase the risk of recession.”

A recent polling has suggested that the public viewed Carney as one of the most trusted senior politicians.

A government poll earlier this month found that 16% of voters who were “undecided” trusted Carney to give them an honest view. George Osborne scored just one per cent.

An exclusive poll for the Telegraph also revealed that the majority of voters, conservative supporters and men were backing the Remain campaign after a collapse in support for Brexit.

Current polls give the pro-EU campaign a 13 point lead, just one month ahead of the referendum.

But the touchiest Brexit debate of the day must have been between members of relict boyband 5ive.

The troop, famous for their 90s hit Keep on Movin', were due to perform at Bpop, the concert organised by pro-Brexit campaign Leave.EU, alongside Alesha Dixon and East 17.

But the band pulled out of the concert, due to take place only days before the vote, after learning it was political.

"Differences in political views of the group's members have come under the spotlight since the aNNouncement," noted the Mirror.

May 23

George Osborne had Brexiteers hopping up and down with rage on Monday with claims that a UK exit from the EU would cause a "DIY recession".

Publishing Treasury analysis, Osborne said a vote to leave would cause an “immediate and profound” economic shock, with growth between 3% and 6% lower.

The Treasury's "cautious" economic forecasts of the two years after an Out vote - which assumes the striking of a bilateral trade agreement with the EU - predicts gross domestic product would rise 3.6% less than expected.

There would also be higher inflation, 500,000 job losses and house price growth would slump 10%, it claimed.

 

The Leave camp responded with barely concealed bile, branding the Treasury analysis as “deeply biased” and “deliberately deceitful”.

Former cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith said he did not believe there would be any "economic shock" from leaving.

IDS said the Treasury had only emphasised the downsides of a vote to quit – while of course Brexiteers have been totally balanced and focused on the downsides of an exit as well as the supposed upsides - haven’t they?

Meanwhile, former Cameron adviser and staunch Eurosceptic Steve Hilton predictably backed the Leave campaign, saying the EU made the UK “ungovernable”.

One could be forgiven for thinking those in Westminster already do a pretty good job of that themselves.

May 20

From statesmen to spymasters it seems everyone is wading in on the EU referendum. So with weeks to go, it was only a matter of time before an open letter from the luvvies slipped through the nations’ letterbox like a takeaway menu no one asked for.

The UK’s creative industry warned that Britain leaving the EU would make the country “less imaginative” and our creative success would be “severely weakened by walking away” as the industry would lose funding from Brussels.

The letter, signed by 250 actors and musicians - including fading starlet Keira Knightley and onscreen odd-ball Benedict Cumberbatch – was put together by Britain Stronger in Europe and it’s opened a veritable Pandora’s Box of national treasures.

“From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without vital EU funding or by collaborating across borders,” wrote the multi-millionaires.

The letter warned that Britain would be “an outsider shouting from the wings” (as opposed to a Shakespearean actor spouting rhetoric from the stage) if we opted to leave.

According to the luvvies “leaving Europe would be a leap into the unknown for millions of people across the UK who work in the creative industries and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the growth and vibrancy of Britain’s cultural sector. We believe that being part of the EU bolsters Britain’s leading role on the world stage.”

As the Spectator noted, the biggest film markets - Hollywood and Bollywood – are actually outside of the EU anyway.

The Spectator’s Tom Goodenough said: “It seems that other countries’ film industries are coping well with not getting cash from Brussels.” 

In a timely coincide, bookmakers have cut the odds on Britain voting to remain.

A flurry of bets suggests the result may not be as finely balanced as the polls initially showed.

May 19

Is EU referendum uncertainty and insecurity bad for UK plc? Not according to some City heavyweights, although others may disagree.

Jitters over the outcome of June's poll have improved the valuation of UK equities, according to a report.

The weakness of the pound caused by uncertainty over the vote has boosted exporters, the study from NN Investment Partners says.

The average dividend yield of UK equities is now around 4.5%, well above the long-term average of 3.5%, the report said.

NN's senior portfolio manager of equity value, Manu Vandenbulck, said: “Brexit fears have reshuffled the dividend landscape in the UK. On the surface, the overall UK equity market has hardly moved but beneath, 

exporters have outperformed on a weaker sterling while domestic-oriented stocks have underperformed.”

“Although uncertainty remains until the vote has passed on June 23, adding UK stocks to a European equity-dividend portfolio makes sense already today.

“Weaker sterling and stabilising commodity prices have helped here as 75% of the UK equity market is export-related.”

Meanwhile, as if there wasn’t enough insecurity and uncertainty around in the run-up to the referendum, Vote Leave funder and stockbroker Peter Hargreaves apparently wants more.

The billionaire founder of Hargreaves Lansdown PLC (LON:HL.) reckons leaving the EU would shake the nation out of its complacency and kick it into action.

“It would be the biggest stimulus to get our butts in gear we have ever had,” the Guardian quoted Hargreaves as saying. “It will be like Dunkirk again.”

Hargreaves, whom HL has made clear now speaks for himself and not for the firm, may deserve credit for being a self-made businessman.

But it would be interesting to hear what ordinary workers struggling on the insecurity and uncertainty of zero-hours contracts think of his comments.

May 18

Bearish traders are targeting Britain’s leisure and hospitality stocks ahead of the EU referendum, according to a report by financial data group Markit.

The UK hospitality sector, as Markit points out, relies upon a cheap and plentiful source of labour – which apparently makes it a target for those looking for pre-Brexit trading ideas.

Presumably the proposition being that possibly tighter immigration controls would reduce the number of lower paid workers from the European Union, and it is speculated that British wages would be higher if the country leaves.

Whitbread plc (LON:WHB) - owner of the Costa Coffee, Premier INN and Beefeater Grill brands – is one of the stocks that have seen a recent spike in short interest, Markit says.

Short interest in Whitbread recently increased above 3% of the company’s shares for the first time since 2009, it added.

The report highlights that Whitbread shares have underperformed the FTSE 100 by over 7% in the year-to-date, and it among the “most vocal” corporate proponents of the Remain campaign.

Markit also highlighted a notable rise in short positions in Restaurant Group - owner of the Frankie & BeNNy’s, Chiquito and Grafunkel’s chains - and said that overall the FTSE 350 constituents in the consumer services sector has seen short interest rise by around 30% so far in 2016.

Elsewhere, results of an Ipsos Mori survey suggested the ‘on balance’ Britons believed the economy would be better off in the long term if it leaves the EU, but would be worse off in the years immediately after a Brexit.

The data shows 39% of those asked agreed the economy would be better off over ‘the next ten to twenty years’ compared to 35% who think it would be worse.

In other Brexit Watch news, pereNNial PR opportunist (and Remain supporter) Ryanair launched the ““Fly Home to Vote Remain” promotion – in which plans to sell seats on flights for expats for €19.99 so they can vote.

May 17

Odds on a win for the ‘In’ camp in the UK’s EU referendum shortened on Tuesday after two polls showed big margins in its favour.

Remain is now a 74% chance compared to a 26% chance for Leave, according to betting exchange Betfair, part of newly merged Paddy Power Betfair plc (LON:PPB).

A phone survey from respected pollster ICM gave Remain an eight-point lead – 47% to 39% with 14% unsure which way to vote.

Shortly after, an ORB phone poll gave the ‘In’ camp a 15% lead, on 55% versus 40% with only 5% uncertain.

Phone polls have generally given Remain bigger leads while online polls have tended to favour Leave or show the result on a knife-edge.

As if to reinforce that, an TNS online poll out on Tuesday gave Leave a 3% lead.

But election analysts such as Mike Smithson of Politicalbetting.com have highlighted that phone polls were more accurate in forecasting the Conservative victory in last year’s general election, while online polls had it neck-and-neck or predicted a Labour win.

 

 

With only just over a month to go to the vote, both sides have been making increasingly fanciful claims.

David Cameron’s assertion that an EU exit could shatter stability in Europe and cause a fresh conflict preceded Boris Johnson’s likening of the EU project to Hitler’s plaNNed conquest of Europe.

But maybe UKIP leader Nigel Farage provided a real clue about how things are going when he acknowledged Remain could win - and said a second vote may be needed.

'In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way,” he told the Daily Mirror. No mention from Farage, of course, of another referendum if Leave won narrowly. FuNNy, that.

May 16

Brexit stories were more restrained today after Boris Johnson’s Hitler comparisons over the weekend introduced an element of farce, but not by much.

Vote how you like because either way it's going to be grim seemed to be the message from rating agency Fitch.

House prices could drop by a quarter if Britain leaves, while the pound may plummet by a third, boomed the agency.

Add in rising social tensions, widespread retail failures through a clampdown on immigration and permanent damage to the UK’s trade position and you have a pretty gloomy picture of post-EU life.

Though it’s unlikely the Remain camp will make too much of it as Fitch was barely any cheerier on prospects if we stay in.

“Net EU migration to UK would remain with the resulting social tensions and core discontent with the EU ultimately unresolved," it said.

Meanwhile, property giant British Land became the latest big business to warn over the potential damage from a Brexit.

A vote to leave could have a potentially adverse effect, it said.

But after an eyebrow-raising 11% rise in net asset value in the year to the end of March, some might argue a slowdown in property inflation might be no bad thing.

May 13

International Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde, born in France and former minister of trade for France (among other government and G8 positions), has cautioned Britain against leaving the European Union.

UK equity and house prices would experience a “sharp fall” if voters decide to leave the EU, she said. She added that it could have a negative and substantial economic effect.

Lagarde expressed the potential impact of a Brexit in a range of “pretty bad” to “very, very bad”.

The comments come as a team from the IMF has been visiting Britain.

On Thursday, Canada-born Bank of England governor Mark Carney said a Brexit could trigger a new recession in the UK.

May 12 

The latest inflation report from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) sounded the alarm about possible adverse effects of Britain leaving the EU.

The MPC warned that a so-called Brexit “could lead to a materially lower path for growth and a notably higher path for inflation”.

The MPC indicated that a vote to leave would likely push sterling down more sharply than the MPC is currently assuming.

Capital Economics says Bank of England governor Mark Carney tried to dodge the question at today's press conference but was forced to concede that a technical recession was possible.

A technical recession is usually defined as two consecutive quarters when gross domestic product declines.

“But he said that the implications of a Brexit for interest rates would not be clear, given the trade-off between stabilising inflation and output,” Capital Economics noted, and that “monetary policy caNNot immediately offset all the effects of a shock”.

Capital's chief UK economist, Vicky Redwood, said that the outlook for UK interest rates after the referendum is particularly uncertain, even if the UK electorate opts to stay.

“The recent weakness of the economy may prove to be more than transient, which would mean rates staying on hold for a long time yet, but if it primarily reflects Brexit uncertainty, which will be unwound, a rate rise will soon come back onto the agenda,” Redwood suggests.

The view of Capital Economics remains that a rate rise near the turn of the year remains odds-on.

May 11

Put 60 economists in a room and the adage runs that you will get 60 (or even 61) different opinions.

But one thing has united this bunch of forecasters and it is that leaving the EU will hurt Britain’s growth profile.

Reuters polled the 60, who said that along with a weakening global economy, Brexit posed the greatest threat to the UK economy.

"There is little doubt that a potential Brexit poses huge risks to the outlook for the UK," Peter Dixon at Commerzbank was quoted in the report.

Sentiments echoed by the boss of house builder Barratt, who added that Brexit would affect the ability to get staff and exacerbate the housing crisis.

 “We would much prefer that the UK stays within the EU,” said David Thomas.

All seemingly fodder for the Remain campaign, though how to play Gordon Brown’s first foray into the debate yesterday may be more difficult to call.

In a curious outburst, the former Labour PM said that it would ‘not be British’ to leave the EU.

Brown’s intervention in the Scottish referendum was seen as a big lift for the stay camp then, but the Leave campaign seemed unperturbed.

Citing a "disastrous record in office",  Gordon Brown was also part of a government "hat gave away part of our rebate and opened our borders across the EU, “ it said.

Finally, the EU is poised to ban energy-hungry versions of appliances such as kettles, toasters and hair-dryers within months of Britain’s referendum vote, according to the Telegraph.

It is part of a plan to cut carbon emissions by sending the most energy-inefficient devices to the scrap heap, said the paper.

 

 

May 10

Investors have begun sitting on their hands ahead of the European Union referendum, according to online stockbroker TD Direct Investing.

TD says a poll, of more than 1,000 investors, showed a drop in investor confidence. There’s evidence of a ‘wait and see’ attitude amid “media hype and market ups and downs”, the broker added.

Michelle McGrade, TD chief investment officer, highlighted that some 40% of investors are feeling less confident about their investments as a result of the uncertainty ahead of a possible BREXIT vote.

Moreover, she added that 36% of respondents to the poll confirmed they were waiting to see what happens in the vote before making any investment decisions.

At the same time, it was ‘business-as-usual’ for 53% of investors in terms of investment confidence, and 30% said they wouldn’t let the emotions surrounding the vote affect their investment approach.

“It’s good to see that most investors are sticking to their guns and staying invested,” McGrade said.

“It’s easy to get knocked off-course by the media foray surrounding what may or may not happen.

“One of the interesting things that came out of our poll was the fact that those who are most nervous about what to do are the people who are just starting out with investing, so the risk in all of this is that these people feel even more paralysed and do nothing.”

TD expects share prices to be subdued until after the referendum.

“My advice to investors is not to read too much into what you hear between now and the 23rd June, as most of it is based on emotion, as opposed to facts. Instead, people should stay invested and look for the opportunities that will invariably arise,” she added.

May 9

The only fighting on the beaches going on over the weekend was over a place in the ice cream queue.

Prime minister David Cameron tried for a Churchillian rhetorical flourish, however, suggesting that could all change were Britain to leave the European Union (EU).

Speaking at the British Museum, Cameron gave up trying to convince die-hard back bench Conservative MPs of the economic benefits of staying in the EU, and suggested instead that the world was a safer place with Britain joined at the hip to mainland Europe.

“Can we be so sure that peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt? Is that a risk worth taking? I would never be so rash as to make that assumption,” he said.

Cameron was accused by Brexiteers of, in WWI parlance, going over the top with his scaremongering.

The Vote Leave campaign said claims that the EU had brought peace sustained peace were “historically illiterate”, arguing that the US and Nato have been more important.

Samuel Johnson said that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”. Worryingly, both sides seem to be keen to play the patriotism card.

May 6

Never shy of stepping forward, Donald Trump, now the presumptive US Republican presidential nominee has waded into the referendum debate - backing an EXIT  vote.

In direct contrast to outgoing President Obama's recent comments, Trump's intervention was seen as the latest attack on UK premier David Cameron in the angry rift that had developed between them.

Cameron criticised Trump for comments over Muslims last year, but that aside, has now said the billionaire businessman deserves respect for making it through the primary vote process.

Elsewhere, one for investors, there has been an increase in the number of plaNNed company floats, or IPOs, ahead of looming uncertainty brought about by the in-out vote next month.

Some suggest Brexit would cause disruption in the City and could see potential capital freeze, at least temporarily. Therefore companies are hoping to get off the runway sooner rather than later....

May 5 

Fears that Britons might actually vote to leave the EU has pushed services sector activity in the UK to a three–year low, according to a survey from Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

April’s score of 52.3, down from 53.7 in March, was the lowest since February 2013.

David Noble, head of CIPS, said: "The looming EU referendum has had a profound effect.”

Prices are relatively stagnant he said while new orders are being delayed at a time when the National Living Wage has seen input price inflation hit a 27-month high.

Better news for the Leave campaign came from Moody’s.

While the credit rating agency said banks would face higher costs in the event of a Leave vote, it would have little impact on the UK's money market/fund management business overall, a sector it estimates is worth £200bn.

May 4

In the run up to the referendum vote (now less than two months away) British banks are preparing contingency plans in case the country votes to leave Europe.

Frozen capital markets and volatile currency in the wake of an exit vote may make it more difficult for banks to operate, so they are reportedly stockpiling asset that can be easily sold to support their business.

For example, a report in the Wall Street Journal claimed Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) has some £7bn of assets set aside, which would equate to about half its funding needs for a year.

The same report said Barclays also has a larger than normal levels of liquid assets.

Elsewhere, the uncertainty was palpable as the sale of an British buy-to-let mortgage lender was put on hold.

Sky News reported today that the proposed £400mln auction for Charter Court Financial Services won’t go ahead before the vote, due to concerns among possible private equity buyers.

It is the kind of uncertainty highlighted by financial consultancy firm deVere Group which says investors should consider ‘Brexit proofing’ their portfolios.

“The historic vote in June is currently looking incredibly close,” said Nigel Green, deVere Group chief executive.

“As such, investors should now be considering how they can Brexit-proof their portfolio to mitigate the effects of a fall in the value of UK assets should the Leave campaign triumph on June 23.”

Green highlighted that the debate over the upcoming referendum has already created considerable uncertainty, and that many investments have already been put on hold.

“This uncertainty and volatility can be expected to intensify if Britain decides to leaves the EU,” he said.

“Almost certainly Sterling, UK equities and government bonds will come under further pressure.”

To protect portfolios against Brexit risk, investors ought to increase exposure to overseas investments.

“It could be a timely decision to rebalance portfolios in favour of international stocks, bonds and perhaps property,” Green added.

“Indeed, many investors should be considering a rebalance anyway, regardless of Brexit.”

May 3

Less than two months to go and US broker Citi highlights the 'close race' according to polls.

Betting has shifted more strongly in favour of 'remain' last month, but the broker put the probability of an exit at 30-40%, but emphasised the "uncertainty in polling".

Interestingly, Citi sees the effect of President Obama's speech and the Panama Papers as probably negligible.

"Polls show that Brexit supporters are more likely to vote than pro-EU voters, although there is some evidence that the latter are becoming more enthusiastic. Even “certainty to vote” is imperfect. In recent elections, actual turnout undershot versus the share of people rating themselves as 10/10 certain to vote, especially for younger voters,"  said Citi.

Elsewhere today, the lobby group Britain Stronger in Europe said £250bn worth of trade would be put at risk if Britain left the EU. That business is with member states but also over 50 countries that have free-trade agreements with the bloc. Those in favour of 'out' however argue their opponents are not consistent with forecasts.

Elsewhere, Brexiteers will have been boosted by reports that Germany is once more pushing for an EU army encompassing all 28 member states with a joint HQ and shared military plaNNing.

APRIL 29

As widely acknowledged, markets hate uncertainty, and the forthcoming referendum on the UK's membership of the EU provides a big dollop of indecision.

According to the latest Deal Flow Predictor (DFP) report from Intralink, which provides software and services for managing mergers & acquisitions (M&A) transactions, the uncertainty is begiNNing to cause early-stage M&A activity to slow.

Meanwhile, the Intralinks Global M&A Sentiment Survey reported that 77% of those who expressed an opinion said that a vote to leave the EU would have a negative impact on M&A activity, both in the UK and Europe.

In other words, a demerger would be bad for mergers.

APRIL 28

The Leave camp’s bid to get back on the front foot after the weekend's unhelpful intervention from US President Barack Obama got a boost on Wednesday.

Eight economists including Patrick Minford, famous for helping to shape Thatcherism as an adviser to the Iron Lady in the 1980s, reckoned Brexit could boost the UK economy by 4%.

Minford claimed the UK could throw off the shackles of the EU while still keeping single market access – although Norway, which pays for access and has no say in setting the rules, might disagree with that.

The Economists for Brexit group, which also includes Roger Bootle of Capital Economics and London Mayor Boris Johnson’s adviser Gerard Lyons, also claimed an exit could cut joblessness by 75,000.

Their intervention came a day after the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development warned that leaving the EU would be like imposing a “tax” of one month’s income on British workers.

Meanwhile, the good folk in the press office at the European Investment Bank (EIB) seem to have been busy recently.

First came a press release on Tuesday aNNouncing £56mln of EIB funding for seven new secondary schools in Yorkshire.

Then, hey presto, another one on Thursday revealing the bank’s biggest ever loan to a university.

The EIB, which is owned by the EU’s member states and provides long-term project lending, unveiled a £280mln loan to University College London to develop its Bloomsbury and UCL East campuses.

The government, always keen to sing the virtues of the EU of course, was fulsome in its praise.

Jim O’Neill, commercial secretary to the Treasury, said: “It is a strong example of the benefits that EIB money can bring to support our leading universities across the country.”

Indeed – and shame on all those cynics who might attribute the frenetic news-flow to the small matter of an EU referendum in the offing.

APRIL 27

Concerns about Brexit likely played a role in the slowdown in UK economic growth in the first quarter.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 0.4% quarter-on-quarter from 0.6% in the final quarter of 2015, in line with consensus forecasts.

“The slowdown in the first quarter likely marks the end of the UK economy’s outperformance relative to other G7 economies,” suggested Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Tombs, a man born with a name ideal for the “dismal science” of economics, reckons Brexit fears will likely take a greater toll on GDP growth in the second quarter.

But he opined that the downward trend in GDP growth since 2014 suggests that the EU referendum caNNot be blamed for all of the economy’s ills.

Meanwhile, the April Distributive Trades Survey showed the sharpest fall in retail sales in more than four years and, guess what, this “fuels suspicion that consumers may be reining in their spending amid increasing uncertainty ahead of June's EU referendum”, according to Howard Archer, chief European and UK economics at IHS Global Insight.

Elsewhere, reports have yet to emerge that this week's unseasonal snowfall in London was due to Brexit fears.

APRIL 26

A quieter day after the excitement President Obama’s comments generated at the weekend.

The first poll since US President’s warning that the UK would lose influence outside of the EU suggests not much has changed yet.

An exclusive ORB poll for the Telegraph suggested 51% to stay in, 46% to leave and 3% don’t knows, but a significant chunk added they might change their minds before voting day.

The pollster said it was probably too early for the vote to reflect Obama’s comments, which have been seen as a substantial boost to the Remain camp.

Meanwhile, prominent Leave campaigner Chris Grayling suggested that pulling out of the EU could solve the junior doctors’ dispute with the government.

The leader of the House of Commons said that the money being disputed amounted to 5% of Britain’s contribution to the EU, which could be switched to pay the doctors.

APRIL 25

President Obama’s warning over the weekend that Britain might have to wait a decade for a trade deal with the US if it votes to leave EU dominates the headlines debate again today.

London mayor Boris Johnson added to his earlier criticism of the US president’s intervention by suggesting Britain would not 'bullied' by the President.

Those in favour in leaving the EU are also quick to point out that Obama is hardly a fan of the UK, having made the fewest visits to the UK of any the recent occupants of the White House.

Elsewhere, the FT reports that the European Investment Bank has agreed £1bn to the UK for affordable housing, its largest ever social housing loan. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the EIB added that leaving the EU would put its British activities at risk.

Odds at the start of week suggest the Remain side is crushing it still with betting exchange Betfair's odds 1/3 in favour of staying in and 11/4 against to leave the EU.

APRIL 22

US President Barack Obama has stuck his two cents' worth into the Brexit debate, urging voters to stay in the EU, citing the strong voice the UK has within the group.

He has also suggested the UK will be able to fight terrorism more effectively if it remains.

But his comments have fuelled anger among leave campaigners and attracted calls that he is meddling in areas he shouldn't.

On more market related themes, City firm Liberum has looked at sectors and stocks and the notion of how to play the market ahead of the vote on June 23.

It says the probability of Brexit is still close to 40% and says it is cautious on real estate and challenger banks ahead of the referendum but happy to own pharma and tech firms. Stocks most exposed to a Brexit include house building, support services and recruitment, retail and travel, it suggests.

Elsewhere, former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has reportedly said Brexit would lead to a successful referendum on Scottish independence within two years.

APRIL 21

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi warned on Thursday that the debate over Britain’s membership of the EU had already hit markets – and was set to continue to do so.

In comments to a news conference at the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt, Draghi highlighted the falls in sterling that the discussion over the UK’s future had caused.

The bank boss said he expected the volatility to continue at least until the referendum on June 23.

But, in an apparent sideswipe at those who believe a British exit would hurt the EU more than it would the UK, he said it would only have “limited impact” on the Eurozone’s recovery.

He also appeared to imply that he believed the UK’s continued membership was the best option, saying Britain and the EU had a "mutually beneficial" relationship.

Also on Thursday, a London-listed cancer drug developer which is part of a consortium that has won an €8.3mln EU research grant, highlighted the benefits of cross-border scientific co-operation in the bloc.

Ian Walters, chief executive of SalvaRx (LON:SALV), said: "Academic and private collaborations like this are critical for propelling scientific discovery and development forward."

APRIL 20

A group of more than 200 entrepreneurs has warned the economic shock of Brexit would be "hugely damaging" to opportunities for start-up businesses.

Entrepreneurs for In, which includes the founders of Skype, Ebookers, Jack Wills and Yo! Sushi among its ranks, wrote in an open letter that Britain is the best place to start a business, something that would be damaged if it left the EU.

Britain's special relationship with the US would also be damaged if it left the EU, according to former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. "It would reduce Britain's very positive influence as an ally of the US," said Summers, who served in the Bill Clinton administration.

Something for the out campaign from former Bank of England governor Lord King. The costs of leaving have been exaggerated, he said, and rather than a reasoned debate over the UK's place in Europe the campaigning had descended into a public relations exercise.

APRIL 19

Britain would face a decade of disruption and trade negotiations, according to BHP Billiton’s (LON:BLT) Scottish-born chief executive Andrew Mackenzie.

A BREXIT could see the UK as a ‘rule taker’ rather than being among Europe’s ‘rule makers’, he says.

“In the EU, Britain helps to write rules taken up across the world that promote free trade and social good, like environmental protection. By leaving, the UK would stop being rule makers and become rule takers,” Mackenzie will reportedly say at a panel today for the Centre for European Reform.

As head of one of the world’s largest mining and metal production company Mackenzie is more experienced than most in dealing with international customers, particularly China, and he reckons the People’s Republic takes Britain more seriously because it is part of the EU.

“The unknowns of Brexit are unwelcome at a time when Europe and the world economy need certainty and stability,” the mining boss will add.

BHP Billiton, worth £19.5bn, is the ninth largest FTSE 100 constituent by market capitalisation.

Elsewhere, UK justice secretary and outspoken BREXIT campaigner Michael Gove claimed the big three international economic groups - the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, and World Bank – are all wrong about their respective predictions for the fallout that would come as a result of Britain leaving the EU.

Gove instead argued there would be no economic shock from a vote to BREXIT.

Pollsters have the Remain camp slightly ahead.  A poll by ORB International, for the Daily Telegraph, found that 52% of respondents would vote to stay in the EU if the referendum were held now.

There are now 64 days until the referendum.

18 APRIL: BREXIT predicted to cost £4,300 per family

There are 65 days to go and the Treasury has produced a report saying UK households would be each £4,300 worse off in the event of an "out" vote.

The report also suggests the UK economy would be 6% smaller by 2030. Chancellor George Osborne, who will launch the report today, said the referendum was the most important political decision since WW2 and described it as economic illiteracy to believe all the benefits of being in the EU can be maintained if the country leaves.

But one Eurosceptic Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin described it on Sky News as an abuse of the Chancellor's powers to use the Treasury "for propagandist" tactics like this.

15 APRIL: UK real estate seen at threat from BREXIT

There are still 68 days until the eagerly anticipated EU referendum, but that hasn’t stopped brokers and analysts already outlying the potential impacts of ‘BREXIT’ on markets.

Today it was the turn of the UK real estate sector from broker Liberum, which said the sector “is one of few listed sectors that will be directly impacted by the outcome of the BREXIT referendum.”

The broker says uncertainty is currently weighing, but things could get worse with an out vote.

If voters decide to leave the EU, “an out vote could lengthen a hiatus in decision making for occupiers and investment demand, particularly for London” Liberum said.

But if the vote is to stay in the EU, Liberum said investors will likely see a relief rally, with rental markets particularly bolstered by excess demand and a lack of supply.

For investors in the likes of Savills (LON:SVS), Shaftesbury (LON:SHB) and online giants Rightmove (LON:RMV) and Zoopla (LON:ZPLA) it’s wait-and-see time until June 23.


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