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Brexit pressure builds on UK government

Monday, March 21, 2016 - 01:41

Pressure mounts on the British government as the main UK employers' group warns of a huge financial and unemployment hit if Britain leaves the EU - while 'Brexit' faultlines in the government itself grow wider. Ivor Bennett reports.

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As resignations go, they're rarely more explosive than this. 3 days on since Iain Duncan Smith quit the cabinet over planned welfare cuts, and the government is still reeling. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, CHIEF ECONOMIST, CHARLES STANLEY, SAYING: "It appears to me as if the Chancellor is almost certainly going to have to issue what is effectively a new budget, possibly as soon as this afternoon." Budget isn't the only b-word giving the government problems. Many suggesting Duncan Smith - one of a handful of eurosceptic ministers - was also motivated by Brexit. Sterling dropping 0.6 percent as markets reacted to the fault lines. Research commissioned by the Confederation of British Industry suggests a vote to leave the EU could cost the UK economy as much as 100 billion pounds by 2020. AND nearly a million jobs. A prospect that has business leaders fearing a lot more than just trouble on the line. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VIRGIN GROUP FOUNDER, RICHARD BRANSON, SAYING: "It'll be the worst decision that the British public have, you know, ever made if we were not to stay. But the damage it'll do to the country, to people who live in this country will be enormous." The CBI says 80 percent of its members favour staying in the EU. but the group's been criticised before for a stance 'leave' campaigners say is showing bias. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, CHIEF ECONOMIST, CHARLES STANLEY, SAYING: "I think in the interest of balance one has to suggest that the Brexit campaigners have some fairly strong arguments on their side as well. Particularly in relation to trade, which may not necessarily be damaged quite as severely as those in favour of the status quo are saying." With the latest polls showing as much as 20 percent undecided, it's still very much all to play for.

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Brexit pressure builds on UK government

Monday, March 21, 2016 - 01:41