REMAIN and Leave battle over Yorkshire votes today with George Osborne issuing a dire warning over the impact of Brexit on the North’s economy and Boris Johnson promising the region will not lose out financially from leaving the EU.
The Chancellor has claimed Brexit would damage his ‘northern powerhouse’ plan to grow the North economy, costing 43,000 jobs in Yorkshire and inflicting a three per cent wage cut for workers in the region.
Meanwhile Vote Leave has moved to try and neutralise fears in Yorkshire that millions of pounds in EU funding could be lost in the event of a vote to end Britain’s membership.
The appeals by both sides to Yorkshire voters represent a further ramping up of the stakes by the two campaigns ahead of polling day next Thursday.
Mr Osborne has today published Treasury figures suggesting the size of the Yorkshire economy would shrink by £3.9bn if the UK leaves the EU while house prices would be cut by £21,000.
He said: “In my judgement, leaving the EU would put at risk what we are building together. If the country votes to quit the EU next week, the economy would go into reverse and there would be a recession.
“Now, we know when it comes to recessions, the North often feels it first and suffers for longer.
“The jobs, the investment, and the international interest that the Northern Powerhouse is now attracting would all be put at risk.
“And it would be working people here in the north of England who would pay the price - in lost jobs, lower incomes and less secure family finances.
“The Northern Powerhouse is on the ballot on June 23.”
Yorkshire has historically been a major recipient of money from EU funds designed to help regions with lower levels of economic growth.
More than £600m of EU funding has been earmarked for Yorkshire in the current funding round to 2020 and it has been suggested that direct benefit of membership could help win Remain support in this region.
Vote Leave has today produced a letter signed by 13 Government ministers and senior Conservatives promising that money would not be lost to Yorkshire if Britain leaves the European Union.
The letter, signed by former London mayor Boris Johnson and fellow senior Vote Leave figures Michael Gove and Priti Patel, claims savings from leaving the EU will cover the cost.
It says: “There is more than enough money to ensure that those who now get funding from the EU - including universities, scientists, family farmers, regional funds, cultural organisations and others - will continue to do so while also ensuring that we save money that can be spent on our priorities.”
The letter continues: “We will also be able to spend the money much more effectively.
“For example, some of the bureaucracy around payments to farmers is very damaging and can be scrapped once we take back control.”