EU Referendum

Osborne warns Wales of 'economic shock' of leaving EU

George Osborne

Leaving the EU would have a "profound economic shock" on Wales, the Chancellor George Osborne has warned.

Mr Osborne said it would cost tens of thousands of jobs, lower the value of homes and put the tourism industry in Wales at risk.

On a visit to north Wales, the Chancellor also said the UK had a bright future inside a reformed EU.

Leave campaigner Boris Johnson said Wales gave more money to the EU than it received in return.

The group Economists for Brexit, has argued leaving the EU would boost the UK economy.

But Mr Osborne said: "As we continue to grow our economy, Wales has a great future with 24,100 jobs expected to be created if we remain in the EU."

He also reiterated analysis suggesting a Leave vote on 23 June would cause unemployment in Wales to rise by around 24,000 over two years, while youth unemployment would rise by 3,000.

The impact of the shock from leaving the EU and the free trade single market, could be equivalent to a £2bn reduction to the size of the Welsh economy by 2018, Mr Osborne said.

It would mean house prices are £20,000 lower by 2018 than if the UK votes to Remain, assuming that prices would otherwise have grown in line with the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecasts, he added.

However, former Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable has previously said a price fall would be good for affordability and economic balance.

'Threaten livelihoods'

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales, Boris Johnson said: "Britain has done very well trading around the world in the last few years. We've seen our share of exports to the EU go down, and amazingly it is other countries who have done better than us at exporting into the single market despite our membership of it.

"Wales gets money from the EU but that is UK money. Wales contributes far more to the EU than it gets back. We only get back about half of what we put in to this thing and that goes for Wales as well."

The Chancellor said: "From tourism, to manufacturing and agriculture, Wales benefits from trade with the EU, but all of that would be at risk if we vote to leave.

"Every credible independent voice agrees that if the UK votes to leave the EU there would be a profound economic shock that would threaten jobs, livelihoods and living standards here in Wales."

Current figures, he said, show 130,000 people are employed in the tourism industry in Wales and EU tourists in Wales spent £206m in 2014, over half of all international visitor spend.

Wales exported £5.8bn worth of goods to the EU in 2014 which was 43% of total goods exports, Mr Osborne added.

And he said in the last five years Wales has benefited from 96 investment projects from the EU, creating or protecting 16,000 jobs, and equating to almost one third of all foreign investment projects in Wales in that time.

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