As many as 820,000 jobs could be lost if Britain votes to leave the European Union, the Government has said in a controversial 'Brexit' analysis.
A Treasury dossier which has already led to David Cameron and George Osborne claiming a year-long recession and falling house now sets out how unemployment will jump by up to 2.4% if hit by a "severe shock".
The analysis, looking at the short-term two-year effect of leaving, has been dripped out over the last two weeks to maximise the impact - or "fearmonger" as the Leave campaign has claimed.
Cameron and Osborne today gave a speech warning of "two years at the very least of complete uncertainty - and probably more", and pointed to turmoil that will hit everything from jobs and wages to increasing the cost of holidaying abroad and household bills.
The Treasury's headline warnings are:
- Between 520,000 and 820,00 jobs lost
- Wages down £800-a-year
- Average house prices down 10% to 18%
- Pound falls between 13% and 15%
- A year-long recession
This is a chart summing up the two Treasury scenarios -"shock" and "severe shock":
And how jobs will be hit regionally:
And one of many "graphs of doom" - this one showing how the UK will plunge into a "year-long recession", though critics will point to the modest fall under "shock" being negligible and impossible to forecast.
Conservative MP Marcus Fysh appeared to reflect the mood of many in the 'Brexit' camp when he likened the "shock" and "severe shock" scenarios to "specious bollocks" and "severe specious bollocks".
In his speech, Cameron warned: "It's only been eight years since Britain entered the deepest recession our country has seen since the Second World War.
"Every part of our country suffered. The British people have worked so hard to get our country back on track. Do we want to throw it all away."
Cameron defended himself over whether it was “irresponsible” to hold the EU given the economic impact.
At the speech, Cameron: “I absolutely think that if we vote to leave it’ll have these severe economic consequences, and it’s not just the Treasury that is saying that – the IMF, OECD, and Bank of England have all said it.
“In terms of holding the referendum, it is a pledge and a promise that I made, and for good reason – we’ve been in this organisation for 40 years, people of this generation haven’t been able to make the choice of whether to stay or to leave
“Europe has made changes over the years and you can’t hold a country in an organiastion against its will. I think we should welcome the fact that we’re having the big sovereign decisions by the British people.”
Leave campaigners says the claism are more evidence of Project Fear’.
Former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith said the Treasury had “consistently got its predictions wrong in the past” and pointed out responsibility for forecasting was removed from the department in 2010.
“This Treasury document is not an honest assessment but a deeply biased view of the future and it should not be believed by anyone,” the Conservative MP said.
“It is a fact that we hand over £350m a week to the EU. If we Vote Leave we can take back control of that money and use it to help people here in Britain.
“We will also take back control over our economy creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs as we do trade deals with growing countries in the rest of the world.”
In a statement, the Vote Leave campaign added: "Instead of talking about forecasts and woolly predictions, we should instead talk about what is happening now.
"It is a fact that - every week - we send millions to Brussels. That is what is happening right now.
"If we Vote Leave, we will substantially cut the current account deficit and thus will be able to stabilise the economy. The same old scare stories simply don’t wash."