Pro-Brexit campaigners have accused the “In” camp of scaremongering over warnings about the impact a vote to leave the EU would have on business.
Vote Leave was responding to a speech by Martin Temple, chairman of the manufacturers” organisation EEF, saying that quitting Europe offered an “abyss of uncertainty and risk”.
It comes days after the EEF published a poll saying 61% of its members wanted to remain in the EU.
Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Ellliott said: “Today”s claims are yet another example of Project Fear.”
He said EEF”s poll in fact showed the level of support from the manufacturing sector for remaining in the EU had waned.
Mr Elliott added: “So long as we remain a member of the EU we lack the power to strike our own trade deals with countries like China and India and we can’t do anything to remove the weekly £600m of EU red tape that holds Britain”s businesses back.
“The safer option is to Vote Leave so we can take control of our own trade deals and reduce the burden on UK plc.”
The clash came as the EEF prepared to hold a debate on the June referendum at its annual conference. Mr Temple was due to deliver his speech, saying that manufacturers depended on access to the EU, at the EEF”s annual dinner.
It comes after 190 company bosses signed a letter warning that Brexit would “risk the economy”.
However a survey by Sky News found that only one of the firms had admitted to clear plans to cut jobs should the “Leave” campaign triumph.
It suggested that while business chiefs were prepared to sound the alarm on the broad implications of a Brexit, they may not have worked out how their own firms might be affected.