ANALYSIS suggesting that every householder in County Durham would be hundreds of pounds worse off because of a hard Brexit is simply an attempt to escalate ‘Project Fear’, it has been claimed.

The People’s Vote campaign, which includes several prominent North-East MPs among its supporters, said ten years after leaving the EU, single market and customs union, householders in the county would be £339 worse off.

Even a ‘soft’ Brexit – where Britain retained access to the single market – would still leave every person in County Durham anything up to £203 a year worse off.

The People’s Vote, which is pushing for a fresh referendum, said it analysed authoritative research by the London School of Economics for its figures.

Houghton and Sunderland South Labour MP Bridget Phillipson MP said: “This dramatic study from the People’s Vote campaign shows the reality and costs of Brexit to everybody in County Durham.

“Crashing out of the EU on destructive terms is going to hit the pockets of everyone across the North- East for years to come.

“Many communities across the North-East depend on close links with the EU, for jobs, investment, trade and research. But it’s not just businesses that will be affected – Brexit will leave hard-working families with less.

“It will especially impact the North-East’s key sectors like manufacturing, transport services and our farming communities as well as the car industry which is so important to the North East’s economic success.”

But Jayne Adye, director of cross-party grassroots campaign Get Britain Out, said: “This analysis assumes the UK will not be immediately making and completing free trade arrangements in the post-Brexit era.

“Furthermore, the paper even admits these figures are ‘far from the last word’, so it is only an attempt to predict future local authority impacts.

“Leaving the European Union presents the North-East with many opportunities to bolster future economic growth.

“The introduction of Free Ports, hitherto prohibited under EU rules, is just one example of a policy which could bring incredible investment to the area.

“The North East remains a highly attractive place to do business. In June this year Newcastle, Sunderland and Gateshead were named as some of the most attractive places for foreign investment in the whole of the UK

“So this Remain scaremongering is simply an attempt to escalate ‘Project Fear’.”

:: A rally by North-East supporters of the People’s Vote is taking place at 2pm this Saturday in The Assembly Rooms, Fenkle Street, Newcastle.