'Brexit': IEA offers prize for UK exit plan from EU

UK and EU flags The IEA Brexit prize is denominated in euros, not pounds

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The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has announced that it is holding a competition to find the best plan for a UK exit from the European Union.

The free-market think tank said it would award its Brexit Prize to whoever came up with the best blueprint for the UK after the EU, covering the country's withdrawal and post-exit repositioning.

The winning entry will be awarded 100,000 euros (£86,525).

The IEA said it was time to look at how the UK might fare without the EU.

It said: "We need to give serious consideration to how the UK could have a free and prosperous economy outside the EU, given that exit is a serious possibility after the next election."

Entrants, who can be individuals or corporate bodies, are invited to submit a 2,000-word outline proposal by 16 September. The authors of about 20 of those entries will be given four months to produce a more detailed version.

The nine judges include former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Lawson, who wrote a newspaper article in May calling for the UK to leave the EU.

Another judge is economist Roger Bootle, founder of Capital Economics, who won last year's £250,000 Wolfson Economics prize awarded for the best plan for dealing with member states leaving the eurozone.

Lord Lawson said he welcomed the IEA's initiative, adding: "Now that we have been promised an in-out referendum on Britain and the EU in 2017, it is essential that this momentous decision is preceded by a well-informed debate. The winning entries in this competition will be an important contribution to that process."

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