Apr 27, 6:15 AM EDT

Economic watchdog warns on UK leaving European Union


AP Photo
AP Photo/Alastair Grant

Photo Gallery
Animal census at the London Zoo
Latest News from Britain
English soccer team, 5,000-1 longshots, close in on title

2 Birmingham men accused of funding Brussels bomb suspect

UK police charge 3 with terrorism offenses in Birmingham

Families of Hillsborough stadium victims sue British police

British officials deny reports of security breach

UK's Labour suspends ex-London mayor in anti-Semitism row

Multimedia
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
Gov: Puerto Rico braces for lawsuits as major default looms

Eurozone economy at a glance: 2008 and now

Eurozone economy regains size of 2008 but remains shaky

US economy struggles at start of election year

Japan central bank holds fire on fresh monetary stimulus

Economic watchdog warns on UK leaving European Union

German consumer confidence amid strong domestic demand

South Korea's economy grows 2.7 percent, slowest since July

IMF expects $500B revenue loss for Mideast oil exporters

Egypt's pound flops on black market amid exchange crackdown

Interactives
Greece's Debt Threatens to Spread
State budget
gaps map
Auto industry problems trickle down, punish Tennessee county
Women give old Derby hats a makeover in tough economy
S.C. town deals with highest unemployment in South
How mortgages were bundled and sold as securities
Tracking the $700 billion financial bailout
Tracking the year's job losses
State-by-state foreclosures since 2007
Credit crisis explained
Presidents and their economic legacies
Lexicon of the financial crisis
Americans' addiction to debt

LONDON (AP) -- The head of the global economic forum OECD warned Britain that leaving the European Union would be tantamount to taxing its citizens - another in a growing cavalcade of cautionary advice ahead of a June 23 referendum on membership in the 28-nation bloc.

The warning by Angel Gurria, the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, came just days after expressions of concern by President Barack Obama, the U.K. Treasury and the International Monetary Fund. He described the notion that Britain might gain a better trade deal outside the union as somewhat fanciful.

"Brexit is like a tax," he told the BBC ahead of publishing a full analysis of the implications of the vote. "It is the equivalent to roughly missing out on about one month's income within four years but then it carries on to 2030."

Gurria's assessment follows that made by the U.K. Treasury last week, which determined that leaving the European Union would cost Britain the equivalent of $6,100 per household. The estimate was based on an analysis of the long-term costs and benefits of EU membership and its alternatives.

The ever-more dire OECD judgment came the same day that authorities reported Britain's economy slowed in the first three months of the year amid concerns about the global economy as well as the vote on EU membership.

The U.K. economy grew by a quarter-on-quarter rate of 0.4 percent in January-March, down from 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday. Services, which comprise 78 percent of the British economy, continued to grow, expanding by 0.6 percent. But other sectors declined, including construction, mining and manufacturing.

Chris Williamson, chief economist of Markit, said uncertainty about the economic outlook "appears to have intensified" ahead of a June 23 referendum on EU membership.

"The danger is that this will cause a lull in businesses decision making as the June vote draws closer, which will in turn reduce business spending, investment and hiring in the second quarter," he said.

One of the leading members of the campaign to leave the EU, Nigel Farage, dismissed the concerns and the people who made them.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah - IMF, OECD, a whole series of international organizations stuffed full of overpaid people who failed in politics mostly," he told the BBC.

When asked to name organizations that backed the so-called Brexit idea, he said: "They are called markets, they are called consumers, they are called people and they are called the real world."

Farage said Britain would obtain a "bespoke" deal better than those obtained by "little countries like Norway and Switzerland" where people had been "betrayed by their politicians."

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.