The Remainians want it every which way. If economic figures disappoint, they claim that is the result of Brexit fears. If the numbers fail to disappoint, they claim that is because people think Remain will win!
Their most consistent claim is the pound will go down if we leave. It’s as good a guess as any. You have a fifty fifty chance of being right. The pound has often gone down whilst we have been in the EU. With a colossal balance of payments current account deficit we are currently running thanks to our lop sided trade with the EU and all those EU contributions we have to send abroad, it is quite possible it will go down again. Just to make it more likely the Chancellor has weighted the dice. He has imposed higher taxes on foreigners buying property in the UK. He has just toughened the anti money laundering rules to deter dubious foreign cash from continuing to come. He has toughened the rules against tax avoidance, to put people off using once normal offshore schemes into London from abroad. That ought to lower the pound.
It is therefore curious that since the end of February, as the referendum campaign has come to prominence, the pound has gone up a bit against the dollar. It serves to remind anyone interested in the truth rather than the mindless and often misleading slogans that the pound is part of a much larger currency turmoil where the dollar has been slipping at last against the other main currencies of the world , unlike last year which was a year of dollar strength.
This year has also brought the surprise that the yen and the euro have strengthened a bit despite the large amounts of these currencies being created as part of their exotic money policies. Both the Euro area and the yen area are running large current account surpluses, so helping to underpin the currency values.
The Chancellor also forecasts that Brexit will slash house prices. Many see this as a good thing, so it might backfire as a political trick. However, the Chancellor should be reminded that he wants to get house prices down so they are more affordable. That is why he set more penal Stamp duties at the top end against foreign purchases, and why he has sought to stop some foreigners buying by new rules and regulations. So many house prices in Central London have already fallen, no thanks to Brexit, but thanks to a deliberate policy of trying to get them down set out by the government itself.
Recent retail sales figures have been strong, undermining the government’s view that fears of Brexit are damaging the economy. The main investors in the UK motor industry have all said they are staying and will continue to invest if we leave, and HSBC has completed its review and decided to stay in London before knowing the result of the Brexit vote. There is simply not enough bad news around to underpin the government’s pathetic wish to talk us down and to force us to stay for fear of worse, when out of the EU we will be better off. We will spend our own money on our own priorities, which brings a modest 0.5% boost to our National Income once we do it.