Sir John accuses Brexiteers of being ‘deaf, dumb and blind’ over Brexit’s impact on young people

PUBLISHED: 19:00 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 04:46 26 October 2018

Sir John Major has attacked Brexiteers in his latest Brexit intervention. Photo: PA / Dominic Lipinski

Sir John Major has attacked Brexiteers in his latest Brexit intervention. Photo: PA / Dominic Lipinski

PA Archive/PA Images

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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