Brexit Battle Intensifies As Gov’t Releases Report Predicting Decades Of Uncertainty
If Britain decides to leave the European Union, a new government report predicts the country will face decades of uncertainty which could result in broad and negative economic and social disruption.
“This would be a long period of uncertainty, which would have consequences for U.K. businesses, trade and inward investment,” the 28-page report issued by the Cabinet Office said.
“Uncertainty during the negotiating period could have an impact on financial markets, investment and the value of the pound, and as a consequence on the wider economy and jobs. A vote to leave the EU would be the start, not the end, of a process. It could lead to up to a decade or more of uncertainty,” the report added.
The timeline for the process of leaving the European Union could take up to four years with Britain finally and formally breaking ties with the Continent anytime between 2018 and 2020.
The debate has left national opinion heavily divided on the wisdom of ending a 40-year membership in the EU.
The Economist, for example, has weighed in against Brexit, arguing the European security would be threatened at a time when the fight against terrorism is at its peak and that supporters could have more impact on the governance of the EU from inside.
Others, such as a European minister David Lidington, have asserted that Britons would no longer be able to live abroad. He also maintains negotiating trade deals would become a multi-year process.
The lobbying campaign has stretched beyond Britain’s borders with Finance Minister David Osborne making the case to his foreign colleagues that Brexit should be included on the list of risks to the global financial order during next week’s G-20 meeting. The US backed his position.
The battle lines were drawn when Cameron set June 23 as the date for the referendum and both sides will be fighting hard every day until then to sway public opinion. The consequences of the vote, however, likely will not become clear for years.