Derek Vaughan MEP

Working hard for Wales in Europe

The cold reality

“…jobs will be lost. This is the cold economic reality of Brexit” said the head of Hitachi who hope to build Wylfa Power Station.

 

 People have asked for facts in this referendum and there is a cold, hard one. Unspun and unvarnished from an experienced businessman.

 

This is the risk that leaving the EU runs, real jobs being lost. Airbus in Broughton, Ford in Bridgend, General Electrics in the Valleys, have all said that leaving the EU would risk jobs across Wales. Why? Because, the economy needs a plan and Leave do not have one. They can’t agree on whether we would be still in the EU single market paying into the EU and accepting all the rules or whether we would be outside the single market and paying tariffs on our exports. However, there is agreement amongst every major economic organisation that Leave are gambling with other people’s jobs.

 

Speaking of jobs, your right to 4 weeks holiday, maternity leave and not to be punished at work for your race or whether you’re a man or a woman are all due to people working together across Europe to get these rights, and they are at risk if we leave the EU. The Leave campaign have said there would be a “bonfire” of regulation, but they won’t say of which ones. I don’t trust the Tories, Johnson, Gove or Cameron to protect worker’s rights without the EU being there to stop them. Letting the right wing Tories look after worker’s rights when they have a majority in the Commons would be a gamble (to coin a phrase) on a par with leaving your pet hamster with a python.

 

Wales makes an £838 million net gain from the EU budget every year. This funds projects like Jobs Growth Wales and Workways which help people get job opportunities and funds apprenticeships. 16,000 farmers get payments to help keep their farms viable, 14,400 would go bust without them. Projects like Agile Nations II which help women do better at work would also shrivel without EU funding. Vote Leave don’t have a plan to replace this funding, they’ve said they’ll match all EU funding, but they’ve already said they’d spend that on other things. In fact, they’ve already spent the money they claim we’d save ten times over. Also, everyone agrees that there would be a short term hit to the economy, this would mean a black hole in public finances with more people unemployed and fewer people earning taxes, this would lead to a £20 - £40 billion hit. So either these projects would go or money would have to be taken from schools, the NHS and defence to fund them.

 

Having lost the argument on the economy all the leave campaign have left is immigration. They have linked all kinds of problems to immigration in completely misleading attacks. They are making EU Citizens scapegoats for the failures of the Tory Government. The facts speak for themselves, EU Citizens put £2.5 billion more into the Government bank account than they take out. That’s £2.5 billion more a year for the roads, schools and hospitals that we use. These are hospitals that would not function without EU citizens, 150,000 of them keep the NHS on its feet. That’s 150,000 people who have dedicated themselves to helping people in this country get better, and they’re now worrying whether they’ll still be allowed to work here come Christmas. That seems a poor reward.

 

It’s easy to criticise the EU for not being perfect. What institution is? However, it is the best peace project in history and we shouldn’t walk away from it. We also shouldn’t risk everything on the words of some right wing zealots. Leave have been asked time and again to lay out an economic plan they can all agree on, and they can’t. They won’t tell people what regulations they plan to get rid of, meaning worker’s rights are definitely at risk. They don’t have a plan to keep all of the EU funded projects funded, putting Welsh farmers, Welsh job seekers and Welsh apprenticeships at risk.

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