One year on from the referendum result, Vince Cable has warned that the country is facing a “Brexit crunch” unless Tory Prime Minister Theresa May changes course.
The Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, who is widely credited with predicting the 2008 financial crisis, has issued a stark warning that an extreme Brexit outside the Single Market and Customs Union would lead to heavy job losses and a slump in growth and living standards.
Vince Cable said:
“A decade ago, the country faced a credit crunch from which we are only just starting to recover.
“We are now faced with the threat of a Brexit crunch, but which this time would be entirely self-imposed.
“Immediately after the referendum, Brexiteers smugly observed that the economy had not caved in, despite the accusations of so-called “Project Fear.” This totally misses the point.
“The warnings from experts including the IMF, OECD and the Treasury were about the long-term health of our economy, not short-term fluctuations. And just a year after the vote to leave, their predictions are coming true.
“We have seen a collapse in the pound, dwindling consumer confidence and a stagnating economy. Even the Brexiteers’ much hoped-for exporting boom has failed to materialise, with our trade deficit the same size as it was a year ago.
“An extreme, UKIP-style hard Brexit that tears up our membership of the Single Market and Customs Union would almost inevitably result in heavy job losses and a slump in growth and living standards.
“It isn’t too late to change course. Instead of embarking on a reckless and damaging extreme Brexit, we should be addressing the underlying economic challenges the country faces, from crumbling infrastructure to poor productivity.
“Theresa May needs to accept that the public mood has changed, and work with other parties towards a Brexit deal that puts people’s jobs and living standards first.”