Mandelson makes tax’ claim as Remain focuses on economy

Lord Mandelson will join forces with Sajid Javid today
Lord Mandelson will join forces with Sajid Javid today
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LORD MANDELSON and Sajid Javid will join forces today to claim leaving the European Union would hit British businesses with a £34 billion ‘export tax’.

The pair will claim that even if a trade deal could be reached with the EU, British firms would still face additional costs from being outside the single market.

The current Conservative Business Secretary and Lord Mandelson, who held the role in the last Labour government, are the latest unlikely pairing to be thrown together by the EU referendum campaign.

David Cameron yesterday joined the Lib Dems’ Tim Farron, Labour’s Harriet Harman and the Greens’ Natalie Bennett to launch a dossier claiming spending proposals set out by Leave would put a £153 million black hole in the public finances.

In a joint letter to the Vote Leave campaign today, Lord Mandelson and Mr Javid claim UK businesses would face average costs of £79,500 from meeting additional rules and regulations as a result of being outside the single market.

They say: “After repeatedly claiming that Britain will better off outside of the EU it is now incumbent on you to provide a detailed plan for Britain’s future outside Europe.

“If you want to secure the trust of the British people important economic questions must be answered.

“The British people deserve answers to these questions, so they make a choice with their eyes open with clear facts so they know exactly what they’re getting.

“A campaign to leave the EU’s single market without a plan for an alternative is an act of economic sabotage which would risk thousands of jobs, billions of trade and investment and the future economic stability of our country.”

The letter underlines the Remain campaign’s determination to focus on the economy where its arguments appear to be having an impact on voters.

Responding for Vote Leave, Braintree MP James Cleverly said: “The remain campaign are failing to make the positive case for the EU because there isn’t one. With momentum shifting in favour of leaving the EU we are seeing yet more random numbers from the remain camp.

“The costs of the EU still massively outweigh the benefits and the renegotiation didn’t make a dent on cost of the Brussels bureaucracy. If we Vote Leave we can take back control of our democracy, borders and economy and protect our prosperity for future generations.”

Leave yesterday moved to counter the view that the referendum is becoming a choice between the Remain camp’s economic arguments and the Brexit case for sovereignty.

Leading Leave campaigner Boris Johnson said: “What they say is that that sacrifice of democracy is worth it for the economic gain.

“What I want to say to you today is that that argument is morally and practically and completely wrong, and that democracy is in fact the vital ingredient of economic success.

“It is irreplaceable and we need to restore it because it is the absence of democratic control that is having all sorts of disastrous consequences for Britain and for the whole of the EU.

“The risks of remaining in this over-centralising, over-regulating, job-destroying machine are becoming more and more obvious, and that’s why I think that we are winning the arguments today and that is why we are hearing quite so much rattling from the other side.”

The benefits of the single market were “wildly overstated”, he said, and the UK could not be insulated from the cost of bailing out the failings of the eurozone and other hikes in costs.

It could also “do nothing to protect this country from the biggest economic change we have seen for a century or more” - fast-rising immigration caused in part by the euro crisis, the former mayor of London said.