Sir John Major has issued another stinging attack on Brexiteers following the release of a report that found a ‘no deal’ Brexit will cost young people up to £108,000 by 2050 – the equivalent of £3,000 a year.
The former prime minister was commenting on a report by Oxford economist Tommy Peto, which has been released by the campaign group Our Future, Our Choice.
It reveals that the total bill that teenagers would face from a hard Brexit could amount to more than three times the cost of university tuition fees or twice the deposit to buy their first house.
The report calculates total lost earnings by the middle of the century resulting from the impact on Britain’s GDP of a no deal Brexit at between £44,000 and £108,000, with the most likely cost amounting to £76,000.
The range for a Brexit with a free trade agreement of the kind preferred by former foreign secretary Boris Johnson was calculated at £30,000 – £72,000, with the most likely cost falling at around £51,000.
And a ‘soft’ Brexit which resulted in membership of the European Economic Area was estimated to cost each young person £7,000 – £32,000 by 2050, with the most likely outcome at around £20,000.
The report suggested an immediate loss of income from a Brexit based on Theresa May’s Chequers plan of around £400 a year for 18 to 21 year olds and £500 a year for 22 to 29 year olds, compared with a soft Brexit, rising to £675 for 18 to 21 year olds and £830 for 22 to 29 year olds under a no-deal WTO exit.
Commenting on the findings Sir John Major asked ‘how could the UK have voted to enact such a policy of self-harm?’
And in another attack on leading Leavers he said: ‘How can the fervent Brexiteers remain so deaf, dumb and blind to every single warning – even when those warnings seem ever more likely to be true?
‘History may well judge that – for a time – the world’s most pragmatic of nations took leave of her senses.’
Femi Oluwole from the group Our Future, Our Choice said: ‘This report shows that young people will lose the most from any Brexit deal.
‘We are a generation who don’t want to live with Brexit, yet it will cost us three times more than tuition fees, or double the average deposit needed for a house in lost wages and earnings.
‘Now that the implications for our generation have become clear, we need a people’s vote on the government’s Brexit deal.’
Polling found around 71% of 18 to 24 year olds voted Remain in the 2016 referendum and 84% of 18 to 20 year olds would do so now.
Our Future, Our Choice has launched a petition calling on politicians to back a People’s Vote because nobody voted to make their kids poorer.