Chancellor George Osborne has reportedly warned that mortgage rates would go up if the UK decided to leave the European Union.
Speaking to the BBC in Washington, where he was attending the International Monetary Fund’s half-yearly meeting of finance officials, Osborne said a Brexit would cause “instability” in financial markets.
He added: “The Bank of England is independent and it makes its decisions on interest rates. But the overwhelming view of the experts here in Washington is that if Britain leaves the EU, prices would go up and there would be instability in financial markets.
“That means it’s likely that mortgage rates would go up, families would pay the price of Britain leaving the EU.”
The Chancellor argues that sterling would slump if the UK voted to leave the EU, which would push up the cost of imports. That would lead to rising prices and therefore the Monetary Policy Committee would have to act to battle inflation.
However, Vote Leave, the official campaign of the Leave vote, hit back at the suggestions.
The campaign’s chief executive, Matthew Elliot, said: “Less than 24 hours [into the official 10-week referendum campaign] and the pro-EU camp are already panicking – resorting to doing down the economy and people’s mortgages to intimidate the British public into voting their way.”