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EU Referendum: Dire warnings of Leave vote hit their mark


Danske Bank's Angela McGowan

Danske Bank's Angela McGowan

Danske Bank's Angela McGowan

This week has seen dire predictions from the Government and financial experts about the scale of Northern Ireland's "meltdown" if there's a vote to leave the European Union.

The Treasury has claimed a Brexit would wipe £1.3bn off the value of the local economy and lead to almost 15,000 job losses. Other studies have also concluded that the region would be severely affected by a vote to leave.

The Ipsos Mori poll for the Belfast Telegraph shows the economic argument for continuing EU membership is playing strongly here, with 44% of respondents saying that the UK would have fewer economic benefits if it left.

This was, by a considerable margin, the number one concern for those taking part in the survey.

Danske Bank's chief economist Angela McGowan said local people recognised the compelling economic case for remaining in the EU. Writing in the Belfast Telegraph today, she said: "Membership of the European Union means cheaper prices for local households, economic stability, higher levels of investment and consistent flows of regional subsides into the economy such as CAP, Structural Funds and Peace and Reconciliation monies."


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The loss of EU funding for local projects, such as roads and community initiatives, was the second most important factor cited by those who believe the UK would be weaker outside the European Union - 27% were worried about this. Nearly a fifth of people said the UK would have a weaker influence in global affairs if it quits the EU - the third biggest issue to emerge.

Considering the importance of the agri-food sector to the Nothern Ireland economy, it's surprising the threatened loss of farming subsidies - which make up a huge proportion of farm income here - proved the major concern for just 17% of those polled. A similar number were worried about the possiblity of restrictions on freedom of movement for European citizens. The Prime Minister has argued that UK security could be compromised by leaving the EU, and 13% of people agree with him.

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