YORKSHIRE COULD be hit by a financial downturn if voters choose to leave the European Union, with access to £266m worth of loans vanishing overnight.
Prime Minister David Cameron claimed today that European Investment Bank (EIB) money which has funded vital infrastructure projects across the region would no longer be available. His warning comes as the International Monetary Fund warned Britain’s economy would be hostage to volatile markets and follows earlier warnings from the Bank of England of recession.
The fresh financial caution comes as the biggest campaigning day yet for those backing the ‘Remain’ camp gets underway across the country.
Mr Cameron told The Yorkshire Post: “We know leaving the EU would result in an economic shock in the UK, after which we would be permanently poorer. But something less remarked upon is the devastating impact on future infrastructure investment of our expulsion from the European Investment Bank.”
In Yorkshire, the bank has provided money upfront for the redevelopment of Alexandra Dock at the Port of Hull, the renovation of Hull University and a waste facility serving people living in North Yorkshire and York.
The EIB is also being used to finance the £56m construction of seven new secondary schools in Bradford, Harrogate, Keighley, Bradford and Huddersfield.
Mr Cameron said: “Not only would leaving the EU see us wave goodbye to this crucial funding, but with a smaller economy hit by new trading barriers and job losses, it’s unlikely we’d be able to find that money from alternative sources.”
The EIB offers long-term investment loans to EU member states on favourable terms with the aim of supporting economic growth.
Last night, former Labour leader Ed Miliband made his first major intervention into the EU referendum with a speech at a high school in Sheffield. He said: “The real agenda of most of those who would leave is a direct route to a more unequal, unfair, unjust Britain.”
However, Conservative peer and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher Lord Dobbs claimed Brexit is the only chance of restoring fairness to the country.
In an exclusive article for The Yorkshire Post, he said: “It’s an institution run by elites, for elites. It serves the privileged. No surprise, then, that they are leading the charge to remain.”
Comment: Page 14; Opinion: Page 15.