By Daniel Hunter

Leaving the EU in the next five years could cost the UK €300 billion, according to German non-profit organisation Bertelsmann Foundation.

A report by the foundation claims that a so-called 'Brexit' would have 'long-term negative consequences for the UK’s growth dynamic and economic vitality'.

In contrast, it suggests that Germany and the rest of the EU would suffer significantly smaller economic losses.

The Bertelsmann Foundation estimates that, depending on its trade policy, the UK's GDP would be between 0.6% and 3% lower in 2030 than if it remained in the EU.

The UK's membership with the EU has been a hot topic in the general election build-up so far. With UKIP coming into the spotlight for the first time in a general election, immigration and the EU have arguably never been higher on the agenda.

As we all know, UKIP wants the UK to leave the EU immediately. The Conservatives are promising to hold an 'In/Out' referendum in 2017, after David Cameron tries to renegotiate the country's deal with the EU. Labour and the Liberal Democrats both want to stay in the EU.

Aart De Geus, chair and CEO of the Bertelsmann Foundation, said: “A Brexit is a losing game for everyone in Europe from an economic perspective alone — particularly for the UK. But aside from the economic consequences, it would be an especially bitter setback for European integration as well as Europe’s role in the world. Setting the course for a Brexit in the House of Commons elections would weaken the EU.”