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Brexit will ‘damage Birmingham economy for years’, council leader warns

Brexit will ‘damage Birmingham economy for years’, council leader warns

🕔14.Jun 2016

A referendum decision to leave Europe would inflict terrible damage on the Birmingham economy and cost jobs and inward investment, city council leader John Clancy warns in the first of three contributions to the EU Referendum debate on the Chamberlain Files today.

Cllr Clancy revealed that firms considering moving to Birmingham are already delaying decisions because of uncertainty over the result of the European referendum on June 23.

Inward investment had “stagnated” while companies were waiting to see what would happen.

He described staying in the EU as “absolutely essential to the economic lifeblood” of Birmingham and other major British cites and warned that the trauma of Brexit could inflict widespread economic damage for years to come.

Editor Kevin Johnson on how the debate has panned out and why he’s voting Remain.

Cllr Clancy’s outspoken remarks come as national opinion polls indicate a surge in support for the Leave campaign, which has opened up a lead of six to seven points over Remain in the past few days.

A YouGov survey in The Times today puts Leave on 46 per cent, up three points since the end of last week, with Remain slipping to 39 per cent, down three.

An ICM poll for The Guardian puts Leave on 53 per cent and Remain on 47 per cent, a six point lead for Brexit.

An ORB poll last Friday for The Independent put leave on 55 per cent and Remain on 45.

The flurry of polls gives Brexit its biggest lead since the start of the campaign, with some Remain supporters fearing the Leave bandwagon may be unstoppable.

The demographics of the campaign also appear to be shifting. According to the YouGov poll, women are now more likely to support Brexit, as are people aged 25 to 49, an age group previously thought to be largely in favour of remaining.

The Remain campaign is ahead in only two parts of the country – London and the south east.

Chief Blogger Paul Dale on why Cameron and Corbyn will regret Project Nonsense. 

Cllr Clancy warned a key aim of his administration, bringing foreign capital into Birmingham to create jobs and to pay for new homes, would be put at risk by Brexit.

He said:

As a result of the reduction in funding from central government it is essential we look elsewhere to bring capital in to Birmingham to create economic growth.

We are already seeing uncertainty in the run-up to the referendum. There has been a stagnant position which has not been helpful.

Remaining in the EU is absolutely essential to the economic life of the Core Cities. I have made my position very clear as far as Birmingham is concerned. It is in Birmingham’s best interests to stay in.

In the event of a leave vote the future growth of Birmingham, our ability to build homes and invest in jobs, would be at risk. Certainly, it would be difficult to meet our house building targets.

The council leader, who recently returned from a trade visit to Chicago, said the eyes of the world were on Britain at the moment.

Absolutely everyone in Chicago was asking me about the referendum. It was the first thing they asked, is Britain going to stay in or leave the EU?

The global community very comfortably sees us in Europe.

We need to make it as easy as possible to invest in Birmingham and it is clear that a vote to leave the EU would put at risk future investment and job creation.

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