British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that leaving the European Union (EU) would cost Britain billions of pounds in infrastructure investment deemed as an economic risk to the country.
“Brexit could cost Britain major funding such as the £16 billion invested into infrastructure projects by the European Investment Bank over the past three years,” said Cameron, addressing pro-EU supporters in a campaign event in central England on Saturday.
“Not only would leaving the EU see us wave goodbye to this crucial funding - but, with a smaller economy hit by new trading barriers and job losses, it's unlikely we'd be able to find that money from alternative sources,” he added.
Cameron noted that leaving the EU would have a 'devastating impact' on future major road, rail and education projects.
“Infrastructure affects the competitiveness of every business and the prosperity of every family in the country - but a Leave vote on June 23 risks putting the brakes on the infrastructure investment we need and shifting our economy into reverse,” he continued.
Cameron’s remarks were made after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday that if British voters decided to leave the bloc in a June referendum, it would be the biggest threat to the country's economy.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF chief, said there were no economic positives to Britain leaving the EU and that the impact would range from "pretty bad to very, very bad."
"Uncertainty over the outcome of the referendum on EU membership, and about the implications of a potential Leave vote, already appears to be having an impact on investment and hiring decisions, with recent surveys of economic activity falling to their weakest levels in three years," she said.
The Bank of England had also said earlier that Brexit could push the world’s fifth largest economy into recession.
Opinion polls have indicated that UK voters believe staying in the EU would be best for Britain's economy, but that support for leaving and remaining still remains at a virtual tie.
The economy and the impact of a possible British exit, or Brexit, on jobs, wages and trade are a key battleground for both the "In" and "Out" campaigns before Britons vote on June 23 on whether to stay in the 28-member bloc.
The “In” campaign, those in favor of remaining in the bloc, argue that leaving it would risk the UK's prosperity, diminish its influence over world affairs, and result in trade barriers between the UK and the EU.