Belfast Telegraph

Former bank boss: EU exit would create great suffering for Northern Ireland

By John Mulgrew and PA

Northern Ireland will "suffer greatly" without the support of the EU, a UN chief and former bank boss has warned.

Dublin-born ex-AIB and Goldman Sachs chairman Peter Sutherland is now secretary-general for international migration for the United Nations.

"One thing is clear: if the UK were to decide to leave the EU, Ireland will remain and Northern Ireland will suffer greatly without EU support," he wrote on Twitter.

His claim came amid separate fresh warnings that leaving the EU would result in a period of "potentially disruptive uncertainty" for the economy, according to studies highlighted by the Budget watchdog.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) suggested the possibility of a Brexit may already have contributed to recent market movements such as the fall in sterling.

George Osborne used his Budget speech to warn that a vote to sever ties with Brussels would "put at risk" the work done by the British people to "make our country strong again".

Although the OBR drew up its economic forecasts on the basis of remaining in the EU and did not consider the alternatives, the watchdog did produce a summary of external analysis.

Its economic and fiscal outlook report read: "Whatever the long-term pros or cons of the UK's membership of the European Union, a vote to leave in the forthcoming referendum could usher in an extended period of uncertainty regarding the precise terms of the UK's future relationship with the EU."

The true impact on the economy might not be fully understood for many years, according to the watchdog.

The report highlighted Centre for Economic Performance estimates suggesting that leaving the EU would result in lower trade, with a "pessimistic" scenario where incomes fell by approximately 10%. But the Institute of Economic Affairs argued that a Brexit would actually boost UK GDP by 13%.

"The range of estimates in part reflects sensitivity to assumptions about what exactly would replace the current rules that are attached to EU membership," the OBR said.

Belfast Telegraph