Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne on Monday held out the prospect of hundreds of thousands of job losses in the event of Britain voting to leave the European Union on June 23, but it was promptly shot down by critics.
Call it scare tactics or Project Fear, leading lights of the Remain in EU and Leave EU camps have been vigorously debating the impact of either decision. Cameron insisted that the increasingly acrimonious campaign was “good for democracy”.
Cameron and Osborne penned an article in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, and followed it up with an address to workers in Southampton, reiterating the Treasury view that exiting the EU would adversely affect the British economy.
They wrote: “This would be, for the first time in our history, a recession brought on ourselves: a DIY (do it yourself) recession. Under all scenarios the economy shrinks, the value of the pound falls, inflation rises, unemployment rises, wages are hit, and as a result - government borrowing goes up”.
“A vote to leave is a vote for recession. Do we really want that DIY recession? Because that’s what's in prospect if we vote to leave the EU”.
But senior Conservative leader and prominent Brexiteer, Iain Duncan Smith, dismissed the Treasury analysis: "This Treasury document is not an honest assessment but a deeply biased view of the future and it should not be believed by anyone."
Meanwhile, research by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford revealed that the British press has been predominantly pro-Brexit.
According to its analysis of media coverage in the first two months of the referendum campaign, 45% were in favour of leaving the EU, with only 27% preferring to stay even as 19% of articles focused on the referendum were categorised as ‘mixed or undecided’ and 9% as adopting no position.