Why i'll be voting to remain in the EU

I believe staying in the EU is best for the people of Sheffield and for working people across the country

Here's why I believe we in Sheffield need to remain in the EU:

The EU is far from perfect and people often say we didn't vote for the Brussels Commissioners. But in South Yorkshire we didn't vote for the Tories either. And it is the EU, not the Tories, that has invested in our economy and protected people in work when the Tories have spent the last 6 years doing the exact opposite.

All of us in South Yorkshire know the desperate damage being done by a Tory government which doesn't invest in places like ours. Preaching a 'Northern Powerhouse' whilst presiding over a two-tier economy where growth bypasses ordinary people. Essentially, the people in our communities are anything but a priority for Conservatives.

But it is because trade unionists chose to fight inside Europe that we have managed to reform it, slowly but surely, and improve the lives of millions of workers. Make no mistake, with a proper strategy led by ordinary people, socialists and trade unionists, we can change Europe again.

And while none of us would die in a ditch for Brussels, if we're fair we see an organisation trying to pick up the pieces of neglect in cities and regions like ours which began with the Tories in the 1980s and has been renewed with gusto since 2010.

The targets the EU have set itself would probably bring the Tories out in a cold sweat.

20 million fewer people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 2020.

Safeguarding or creating nearly 300,000 jobs in the UK's poorest regions since 2007.

A massive investment in skills and training.

Billions delivered to the poorest regions of the UK.

The Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund helping deprived communities in South Yorkshire just as much, if not more, than they have been in Warsaw and Budapest.

While the Tories would prefer to neglect South Yorkshire, the EU has quietly got on with investing in major projects in South Yorkshire and investing in world-leading advanced manufacturing centres.

And the last Labour Government knew if the Tories were ever to get back into power again, they would come after our workplace rights. So we enshrined them in Europe, out of their reach.

It is equal pay legislation; the right to a minimum number of holidays, and payment in lieu; the restriction of working hours to a maximum of 48 per week reducing stress, depression and workplace illness; health and safety regulations, which has made all of us safer at work and which is guaranteed only while we remain in the EU.

Not to mention improved consumer protection and cross-border policing making us all safer.

So we have to ask ourselves one very simple question: are the people we live and work alongside here in Sheffield and South Yorkshire better off if we pull up the drawbridge and leave our communities at the whim of a Tory Government desperate to reverse this social progress?

People brought about this legislation by lobbying the EU and the EU listened. When governments, whether Europe-wide or national, work with trade unionists and ordinary people, progressive legislation like this is introduce.

I was brought up to believe one very simple thing. It is why I became a trade-unionist and fought for my colleagues at work and it is why I became an MP and fought for the people of Sheffield - the place I was born. It is that we are better off when we stand together than when we fight alone.

At the start of a global century, we should begin the fight for a workers' europe once again and renew our cooperation on climate change, global working conditions, multi-national tax avoidance and security - not pull up the drawbridge and shrink from the problems that workers and ordinary people face on a global scale.

The Labour Party has been proudly internationalist throughout its existence. We have sought influence to defend our people wherever power resides. We have constructively engaged with Europe and have won significant rights and funding because of that.

That's why I'm voting to remain, not because the EU is perfect, or because leaving would be a total catastrophe but because at present, all things considered, it’s best for the people I represent.



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  • published this page in News 2016-02-23 14:35:18 +0000
  • published this page in News 2016-02-23 14:28:09 +0000