The North East would bear the brunt of any recession triggered by the UK pulling out of Europe, a senior Labour politician has warned.
Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle was on Wearside today, as the party’s ‘In’ campaign bus came to Sunderland.
She and Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bryant were joined by Sunderland Central MP Julie Eliott, her Houghton and Sunderland South colleague Bridget Phillipson and MEP Jude Kirton-Darling to back the ‘In’ campaign.
The polls suggest the ‘Leave’ campaign is in the lead, but Ms Eagle said there was still plenty to play for.
“The country is pretty divided at the moment,” she said.
“There are still some people who are undecided – some people are just beginning to think seriously about which way they are going to vote.”
Anyone who was still to make their mind up should look at the economic impact the prospect of an ‘Out’ vote had already had, she said: “Look at what is happening with the volatility of the markets, think about what the implications are for your job and public services if there is a recession.
“We have got a Conservative Government that will just cut public expenditure even more, taxes might go up - it makes it far more difficult for us to try to build prosperity for the long term if we come out of the European Union.”
It was wrong to suggest there would be no economic impact of quitting the EU, she said.
“The ‘Leave’ campaign is saying we can have our cake and eat it, that we can carry on trading as if nothing has happened, but there is nothing to say that would be the case,” said Ms Eagle.
“Nine out of ten economists say we would be at risk of recession and you know what the Conservatives do when there is a recession - they cut the areas that need it most.”
The region’s automotive sector could be hit particularly hard by pulling out of the EU, she warned.
“This is a real crossroads for our country. Whatever we decide to do, there will be no turning back and there will be consequences,” said Ms Eagle.
“The whole Labour Party, from Jeremy Corbyn down, is saying in our opinion, the best chance to build our prosperity and to create the kind of society we want to see, to grow jobs and public services, is to remain the European Union.”