Report: Both sides of Britain's EU referendum campaign "misleading"

Key claims made by the Leave and Remain campaigns ahead of Britain's referendum on EU membership have been found to be "misleading" in a cross-party parliamentary report.

Vote Leave's claim that Britain would receive a weekly windfall of 350 million pounds [512.4 million dollars] if it stopped paying EU contributions, as well as its claims on Britain's cumulative contributions, "are highly misleading to the electorate," said the report by the Commons Treasury Committee.

"It is very unfortunate that they have chosen to place this figure at the heart of their campaign," the lawmakers said. "This has been done in the face of overwhelming evidence, including that of the chair of the UK Statistics Authority, demonstrating that it is misleading."

Vote Leave's total does not take account of Britain's budget rebate from the EU, which is some 85 million pounds per week, the report said.

It said the Remain side's claim - backed by Prime Minister David Cameron's government - that an average family would be some 4,300 pounds a year worse off if Britain left the EU was "likely to be misconstrued by readers, especially in the heat of a campaign."

"It may have left many readers thinking that the figures refer to the effect of leaving the EU on household disposable income, which they do not," the report said, adding that the figure of 4,300 pounds is the estimated impact of a Brexit on GDP per household.

The Remain campaign's claim that some 3 million jobs depend on Britain remaining in the EU is also misleading, it said.

"The arms race of ever more lurid claims and counter-claims made by both the leave and remain sides is not just confusing the public. It is impoverishing political debate," said Andrew Tyrie, the chair of the committee.

Both campaigns are heating up with less than four weeks to go to the vote on June 23.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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