The G20 group of the world’s largest economies warned that the global economy could suffer a “shock” if the UK votes to leave the EU.
G20 Finance ministers gave their opinion on ‘Brexit’ after a two-day meeting in China.
“Downside risks and vulnerabilities have risen, against the backdrop of volatile capital flows, a large drop of commodity prices, escalated geopolitical tensions, the shock of a potential UK exit from the European Union and a large and increasing number of refugees in some regions,” the policymakers said in a joint communique.
Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the warning.
“Here at the G20, finance leaders and central bank governors of the world’s biggest economies have raised serious concerns about the risks posed by a UK exit from the EU,” he said.
“They have concluded unanimously today that what they call the shock of a potential UK vote to leave is among the biggest economic dangers this year.”
When the BBC asked Osborne if he or his officials had asked for the warning to be included in the statement, he said: “We’ve got countries around the table like the United States of America, like the IMF, like the Chinese who frankly don’t do what anyone tells them to do.”
Lord Lawson ridicules the warning
However, Lord Lawson, who previously said Britain has ‘nothing to fear but fear itself’ from leaving the European Union, said: “The British people will not take kindly to being told by the G20 what they should do. And the notion that the UK leaving the EU would cause an economic shock is absurd.
“Fifteen of the members of the G20 are outside the EU, and that hasn’t caused an economic shock. Indeed, most of them are doing better than most of the members of the European Union.”
Osborne calls the issue ‘deadly serious’
Osborne stressed that if global leaders believe a ‘Brexit’ could cause a shock in the global economy then the effect on Britain could be much direr:
“The financial leaders of the world’s biggest countries have given their unanimous verdict and they say that a British exit from the EU would be a shock to the world economy.
“And if it’s a shock to the world economy imagine what it would do to Britain.
“This isn’t some adventurous journey into the unknown, with all the humour attached to it, this is deadly serious.”