George Osborne warns 120,000 new jobs at risk in North England if Brexit wins.
LONDON — British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne warned Monday that up to 120,000 new jobs expected to be created over the next decade in the Northern Powerhouse will be at risk if Brexit wins the referendum on EU membership.
Speaking at the official opening in Liverpool of the International Festival of Business, Osborne said a leave vote would cause years of “great uncertainty”.
Osborne said the future of the Northern Powerhouse was “on the ballot paper” in the June 23 referendum when 43 million Britons will decide if they want to stay as a member of the European Union or quit.
The Chancellor said that since the Northern Powerhouse initiative was launched investment projects in northern England had increased by more than 127 percent, compared to 7 percent in London.
“There will be huge uncertainty. We’ve had the president of the European Council say today that it will take two years to exit the EU and five years to negotiate a new relationship at least with our closest trading partners,” he added.
Osborne said for the businesses here and for international business, Brexit means “things are put on hold, there’s a lot of uncertainty.”
“There are 500 million people in the single European market. We’re people who reach out around the world, who shape the world, rather than be shaped by the world. That is the future at stake when we vote on June 23,” he said.
Over 30,000 delegates from across the world will visit the Liverpool event, over the coming three weeks, with a quarter of the overseas delegations coming from China.
Osborne’s warning about the threat to jobs and business came as the Remain camp in the referendum launched a concerted attack in northern England to win over millions of people in the traditional industrial heartlands of the country. Reports have shown many in what is a stronghold area for the opposition Labour Party have indicated they aim to vote to leave.
All three main political parties in Britain, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the governing Conservative Party all support staying in the EU.