If Britain votes to leave the European Union (EU) in June it will do little to damage the country’s business ties with the rest of the world, a survey of global business leaders has found.
The survey by CNBC of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in some of the world’s largest firms found that the vast majority would still trade with the UK in the event of Brexit.
Over 70 per cent, representing a wide range of industries, said there would be “no change” in the likeliness they would invest in the UK, with just 14.6 per cent saying they would be “slightly less likely” to trade with the UK.
The figures are a significant blow to ‘Remain’ campaigners who have launched what critics have dubbed ‘Project Fear’ warning of economic meltdown if Britain leaves the EU.
Last week, claims by Prime Minister David Cameron that Brexit would push up the prices of goods in shops were criticised as “preposterous, shrill and panicky”.
Addressing workers at a Vauxhall factory in the town of Ellesmere Port, Mr Cameron claimed the prices of mortgages, food and even gloves and socks could increase if Britain left the EU.
“Before we joined, we faced extremely high tariffs: 14 per cent on cars, 17 per cent on bicycles, 32 per cent on salt, 37 per cent on china. Even, oddly, 20 per cent on gloves – but only 14 per cent on socks,” he said.
“Today, there is one tariff in the Single Market: Zero per cent.”
However, Conservative Member of Parliament Adam Afriyie hit back, saying that the EU was actually a “destroyer of jobs”.
“We would have more jobs in Britain if we left the EU. We would be more competitive and be able to set up trade deals with countries where we currently can’t,” he added.
Last month, leading British fund manager Neil Woodford also said Brexit would not necessarily harm the UK, claiming there were no convincing economic arguments either way.
In fact, an article on his firm’s website concludes that Brexit could lead to an increase in gross domestic product of up to 10 per cent.