Brexit worries are weighing ever more heavily on UK consumer sentiment, according to new surveys, and a week after US President Obama urged Britain to stay in the EU, the 'Outs' sneak a lead in the latest poll - but only just. Kirsty Basset reports.
The referendum on Britain's membership of the EU is shaping up to be a close race. A recent poll shows support for the 'Out' campaign has risen 3 percentage points to 42 per cent. While support for the "In" campaign has risen to 41 per cent - casting doubt on President Barack Obama's recent efforts to bolster support for the Remain camp. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MARKET COMMENTATOR, ADMIRAL MARKETS, DARREN SINDEN SAYING: "The "Out" campaign generally been on the back foot. And I think now is the time for them to stand up and be counted and be heard." And that's what UKIP leader Nigel Farage was hoping as he gave a speech in Westminster. (SOUNDBITE)(English) UKIP LEADER NIGEL FARAGE SAYING: "We have to win this campaign - make sure people understand that EU membership and uncontrolled immigration are synonymous with each other." A group of pro-Brexit British economists have said concerns about a hit to Britain's economy from lower exports were overblown - and the country would benefit from scaling back EU-backed labour laws. But a poll by Reuters of financial market economists based in Britain and Europe found most believe the economy would be damaged by leaving the EU. And a report by JP Morgan put a price on an exit - saying a vote to leave could cost each Briton around 45,000 pounds, or around half the value of the United Kingdom's housing stock. The mere prospect of a Brexit is having an impact - as two surveys showed consumer and business confidence falling amid uncertainty surrounding the referendum - one giving the lowest reading in nearly a year a half.