North Warwickshire's Labour Group Leader, Councillor Adam Farrell sets out why he is voting to remain in the European Union on June 23rd.
As a Councillor a key part of my role is fighting for the best deal for local residents and businesses across our borough. It’s because of this, that I strongly believe we should vote to remain in Europe on June 23. North Warwickshire is better off in Europe. It brings us jobs, growth and investment, protects workers and consumers and helps keep us safe.
Thousands of jobs in North Warwickshire come from us being in the EU. If we were to leave, could we guarantee those jobs would be secure? The simple answer is no. Being in the EU keeps people in work and puts money in people’s pockets. With the chorus of noise from the Leave campaign, the one subject they’re all suspiciously quiet about is what leaving would mean for jobs and investment in areas like North Warwickshire. With local businesses, the CBI and the TUC all highlighting the dangers of leaving, it’s becoming less credible day by day for the Leave campaign not to answer this fundamental question.
The West Midlands region benefits massively from being part of the largest single market in the world. So much so that 42% of the value of all goods exported by local companies go to the EU. That’s billions of pounds every year, powering our local economy. These exports also support over 7550 manufacturing apprenticeships in West Midlands, which would be put at risk if the UK were to vote to leave.
Those jobs and apprenticeships really matter – especially for young people. Many young people in North Warwickshire are already struggling to find a decent job, or to be able to save enough to one day afford a home of their own. For many young people in our community, Britain staying in Europe isn’t just about exciting opportunities to travel or work abroad – it’s about the job or the apprenticeship here at home that gives them the opportunity to build a better life.
Being in the EU makes a significant difference to our daily lives. Shoppers are better protected more than ever thanks to EU protections and being in Europe helps keep costs down on everything from passenger airfares to mobile phone roaming charges. The EU is driving forward real progress on tackling climate change, as well as raising the environmental standards of Britain’s beaches, and improving air quality.
Most importantly, being in Europe protects the rights of workers. Your right to paid holiday, maternity leave, paternity leave, breaks after so many hours worked as well as many other employment rights, are enshrined in EU law. Some will say, don’t be silly; we’d still keep those rights if we left the EU. The reality is that they are at risk. Don’t forget it was this current Tory Government that just a few months ago tried to attack working people through its Trade Union Bill. Nothing is guaranteed if we leave the European Union.
Finally I want to mention immigration. This is not a referendum on immigration but I know many people share real concerns about immigration in Britain. The simple fact is that if we want to be part of the worlds largest single market, where businesses can export without tariffs, where the goods we buy are not inflated by an import tax and where we can live, work and travel to other European countries without expensive visas or work permits then you have to accept its an all or nothing.
Leaving the European Union will not stop immigration. If we leave on June 23rd, the Government will still want to negotiate with the EU a deal to trade freely and any trade deal will include the free movement of people. It’s also worth remembering that America, China, Japan and Canada are all outside of the European Union but immigration still exists in those countries. In fact, despite many from the leave campaign saying we should be more like Canada, 20% of the population there are migrants, higher than here in Britain.
A vote to remain is a vote for jobs, prosperity and opportunity.