Northern Ireland

NI affairs committee to examine potential EU exit impact

A European Union flag Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The UK looks set to hold a referendum on its membership of the European Union this year

A Westminster inquiry examining how a UK exit from the European Union could affect Northern Ireland is due to begin hearing evidence on Wednesday.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will look at areas like the economy and the border with the Republic of Ireland.

The first session will concentrate on economic matters.

It is due to hear from Prof Neil Gibson, Dr Graham Gudgin and Dr Leslie Budd.

Read more: The UK's EU referendum - everything you need to know

Last year, Dr Budd carried out research for the Northern Ireland Assembly's enterprise committee.

He concluded that leaving the EU could cost the Northern Ireland economy almost £1bn a year.

Image caption Sammy Wilson has said Northern Ireland would benefit from a break from the EU

Dr Budd said economic output in Northern Ireland could be 3% lower as a result of Britain leaving Europe.

But he warned that estimating the economic consequences of a so-called Brexit was complex and that making an assessment at a Northern Ireland level was even more challenging.

Budget

The Department of Enterprise has commissioned more Brexit research from the consultants Oxford Economics.

That work is due to be published in March.

Supporters of leaving the EU claim that Northern Ireland would be better off out of the union.

The Democratic Unionist Party's Sammy Wilson, a former Stormont finance minister, has said Northern Ireland could get "an additional £540m in its budget" if the UK leaves.

He claimed the annual block grant would likely benefit from the UK saving on its financial contribution to Europe.

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