Former deputy prime minister warns about cost of Brexit to UK economy.
Brexit will hit living standards for millions of people and put a £59 billion dent in the public finances, Nick Clegg has warned.
The former deputy prime minister said the final deal thrashed out with Brussels should be put to a referendum on whether to accept it or reverse Brexit – and the Liberal Democrats would campaign to keep the UK in the European Union.
Mr Clegg accused the Conservatives of “hurting the very people who need most help” as the typical household will be £500 worse off this year than in 2016, according to analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
The Lib Dem Brexit spokesman said the collapse in the value of sterling was increasing household bills and prices in shops and would be sharply felt by holidaymakers travelling abroad.
“If you’re going on holiday to Spain this summer, everything you pay for in euros, from accommodation to ice cream, will be 17% more expensive than it was two years ago.
“If you’re going to Florida this summer, it’ll feel like a 23% hike.
“When prices go up and wages do not, that can only mean one thing: millions of people are going to be poorer. Our standard of living will be lower.”
The economic slowdown expected from the Brexit vote had not yet materialised, but Mr Clegg said that was because the UK was still in the EU and the “long-term impacts won’t start to be felt until 2019 at the earliest”.
Pointing to Office for Budget Responsibility figures, he said a “triple whammy of higher inflation, lower business investment and lower net migration” means that GDP is likely to be 2.4% lower in 2021 than it would have been without the EU referendum.
As a result of extra borrowing, Brexit will have “dented the public finances by £59 billion over a five-year period”, Mr Clegg said.