The Bank of England has warned for the first time that Britain could slide into recession in the event of a Brexit, describing the referendum on EU membership as “the most immediate and significant risk” for the UK’s economic outlook. The Bank warned a vote to leave the EU could push sterling lower, increase unemployment, hit economic growth and stoke inflation. Minutes of yesterday’s meeting showed that the Bank discussed the implications of both a vote to remain in the EU – seen as the more likely outcome based on current polls – and a vote to leave. It was the Bank’s most detailed assessment yet of potential Brexit effects.