Greece referendum: Britain 'not immune' to EU crisis, George Osborne warns as vote opens

The Chancellor says an emergency meeting will take place tomorrow, attended by the Bank of England's Mark Carney, to discuss the fall-out from Greece

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The Independent Online

Britain is “not immune” from Greece’s debt crisis, George Osborne warned, as Greeks voted in a referendum on whether to accept  the bailout offered by its creditors.

The Chancellor revealed David Cameron would chair an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss the fall-out for the UK from the referendum. It would be attended by Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor; Mr Osborne, other ministers and officials.

“We cannot be immune,” Mr Osborne told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, referring to Britain’s close trading links with the EU. But he insisted: “We are prepared for whatever the world throws at us.”

Mr Osborne believes that Britain is in a much stronger position than at the start of the 2007 financial crisis, because the deficit has been brought down and the banks have been recapitalised. But the City of London could be affected by turmoil on global financial markets if Greece left the Eurozone.

The Chancellor argued that the crisis in Greece is “a reminder” of the need for his austerity measures in the UK.  “All the more reason why we need to keep our house in order,” he said.  “We have to finish the job [on the deficit]. We have to make sure Britain is safe and secure.”

Mr Osborne declined to say how he would vote if he could take part in today’s referendum, saying it was a matter for the Greek people. But he suggested that the Syriza-led Government should accept more austerity measures, saying: “If you are in the single currency, there are rules you have to abide by.”