Last night David Cameron and George Osborne pushed the legal restrictions on government campaigning to its legal limits. They rushed out a new scaremongering report just before the Purdah period started, which now prevents any further government interference in the referendum campaign.
Osborne and Cameron are obviously hoping this final report will seal a Remain vote, but their panic is clearly obvious. Their sheer desperation drips from this report, as it outdoes the government’s previous reports for hyperbole, scaremongering and blatant factual inaccuracy.
The kindest way to describe the report – using Osborne’s own language – would be to call it “economically illiterate”. Many of the assumptions made are either contradictory or are the opposite of economic sense. It claim the State Pension will be reduced in value because of inflation. This is not just misinterpretation of the facts, this is simply outright lies.
The Triple Lock on the State Pension – introduced by the Coalition government – means even if inflation is very high, the State Pension will still rise by the same amount. If inflation is 6% and higher than the growth in earnings, then the State Pension will also rise by 6%. This means it is literally impossible for the State Pension to fall in value because of inflation. This was the Chancellor’s own legislation. He is openly and knowingly lying to the Great British Public.
It is also unclear why the stock market would take a severe and sudden shock, as stated in the report. The method for leaving the European Union is Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which is a two-year process. All trade and economic agreements stay in place for – at very least – two years, from the time the British Government invoke Article 50. This guarantees certainty for investors for this two-year period at the very least.
During this time it is very likely there will be some form of deal worked out for Britain with the EU. Even if we do not agree a bespoke trade agreement, there won’t be uncertainty. Once we leave the EU, we will immediately become their largest export market and trading partner. Indeed a significant part of their economy is dependent on trade with Britain. For Germany, the figure is around 5% of their GDP. The idea our trade would suffer is farcical at best -they simply cannot afford to not trade with Britain.
The stock market will not suffer a severe shock, as there is simply nothing plausible which could cause this.
With the stock market unaffected there is absolutely no reason why private pension funds would lose money and have to cut their customers annuities. These are simply lies and outright scaremongering claims – aimed at a potentially vulnerable older generation.
The far bigger risk for pension funds and their assets is remaining in the EU. It has long been a dream of the European Union to further regulate financial markets, especially using the proposed financial transaction tax. Pension funds rely on moving funds around the world, both to pay the pensioners who have invested with them and ensuring they have their funds in the best investment opportunities.
The EU estimates this tax would apply to around 85% of the transactions pension funds conduct. It is predicted this would take billions of £s out of the worth of pension funds, directly affecting how much pensioners are paid. This is the real threat to British pensions!
This is not the only damaging legislation about come through from Brussels. Two more directives – named the Solvency and Harmonisation Directives – are planned for this year. Britain has NO veto on these. The UK government has already said these proposals will cost pension funds hundreds of millions, but we have NO power to stop them going through. Remaining in the EU is the real threat to the welfare of British pensioners – not the imaginary doom-laden scenarios dreamt up by Treasury officials on Osborne’s orders.
All of this scaremongering on pensions is distract attention from the immigration figures published yesterday,showing another huge increase in net migration – which is now over 333,000 – over three times the government’s own target. The government knows they have lost the argument on immigration and are desperately trying anything they can to distract attention from the issue. Rather than trying to make a reasoned argument, they have,in desperation, resorted to deliberately lying to the British public.
The reason George Osborne is not even attempting to argue with facts anymore is because he knows the truth: he has utterly lost the argument. It is now clear we must vote to Get Britain Out on June 23rd to protect our pensions, fix our immigration system and to show to politicians that lying is unacceptable in political debate.
Ryan Fiske, Research Executive for leading grassroots, cross-party Eurosceptic campaign group Get Britain Out