Pulling out of the EU could cost Sunderland up to 2,500 jobs and set the city’s economy back years, claims a new independent report.
Sunderland Economic Leadership Board commissioned consultants PACEC to examine the likely economic impact of a leave vote in June’s Euro referendum.
Leadership board chairman Paul Callaghan said: “The Economic Leadership Board hopes the research findings will help stimulate debate and provide evidence and insight into the potential outcomes if the referendum result on the June 23 is in favour of Brexit.
“The report shows that, given the importance of foreign investment and trade to the Sunderland economy, the consequences of Brexit would be significant and largely negative for the city.
“Sunderland’s economy is dominated by large, foreign-owned companies in trading/exporting sectors, most notably the automotive manufacturing cluster centred on Nissan’s Sunderland factory.”
PACEC used data analysis methods, interviewed key business figures and surveyed almost 200 local businesses in drawing up the report.
“It examines the likely outcome were the UK to secure a trade deal similar to that of Norway, which is not an EU member but enjoys free trade subject to meeting certain EU regulations, and what would happen if the UK failed to secure a deal and, as a result, faced trade tariffs set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO),” said Mr Callaghan.
“And, it concludes that under either the Norway or the WTO option, the Sunderland economy would contract by as much as 2.5% in Gross Value Added (GVA) terms, and 2.18% in employment in the case of WTO terms of trade.
“This equates to the loss of around 2,500 jobs.”
City council leader Coun Paul Watson added: “The North East is a net beneficiary of the EU, if we do decide to leave EU the money we currently pay in won’t come back to the North East.”