EU Statement June 2016

The EU gives businesses like the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham access to the world’s largest market. It gives farmers working in some of the most difficult terrain in our Country subsidy support. It gives young people across our Country the opportunity to move freely throughout the continent. And if you are an entrepreneur, as I was before I became your MP, the EU Single Market allows you to trade freely without having to set up offices and legal structures in each country.

The EU Single Market is important because it means job opportunities for our children and grandchildren. Of course we would survive outside the EU but the question is would we do as well as we would within it? Would companies like Computershare, who bought HML in Skipton last year and secured the companies 1,300 jobs, have been as interested to make this purchase had it not given the firm access to 28 members of the single market? This is not a theoretical issue: HML is much stronger, and jobs in that company much more secure than they were now Computershare has made that commitment. It is vital for the Northern Economy to have access to the EU markets, which in turn attract foreign investors, create jobs and prosperity in the North, and drive inward investment. 

Those advocating that we should leave the EU say we will continue to be able to trade with other European countries and more widely across the world. Yes we will, but on what terms and how long will it take to agree them? This instability is a high price to pay and one which even the most ardent Leave campaigners have admitted would continue for years.  It is also significantly easier to agree deals with Japan and the US if we are part of a bigger market. And these deals mean more jobs and opportunities for families across Skipton and Ripon.

Across Yorkshire over 360,000 jobs are linked to the EU.  Our manufacturing is reliant upon freedom to export to the EU: a staggering 49% of Yorkshire’s manufactured exports go directly to Europe.  Farmers across Skipton and Ripon depend on EU subsidies to ensure that they continue to make profits.  And our Universities thrive on funding they receive from Europe and the collaboration and partnership this brings: Yorkshire was the highest recipient in the UK of the EU’s science funding programme which will amount to £743 million between 2014 and 2020.

Leave campaigners raise concerns about regulation, but in fact the EU has worked hard on this issue by repealing unnecessary legislation and producing less laws than at any time in its history. Britain is one of the least regulated counties in the EU, according to the OECD, and the sixth best country in the world in which to do business, based on the World Bank’s Annual Report.  Moreover, the Leave campaign continually cites regulation as an issue, but has failed to name any regulations that they would repeal. The fact remains that the EU has been at the forefront of producing some of our most forward thinking workplace legislation and has given us better environmental protections, the Working Time Directive, maternity rights and protection against workplace discrimination. 

On the question of sovereignty, the reality is that for Craven and Harrogate and for all parts of the UK our Parliament at Westminster is sovereign.  We are part of the EU as we are NATO, WTO, G20 and G7 because it benefits us to be part of a wider decision making process in a complex world.  We retain control of running our country: the vast majority of our laws are created in our Parliament and for those that do come from the EU, our Parliament and I as your MP have the chance to give our view and influence and reshape them.

The EU isn’t perfect, but if we want to remain one of the strongest economies in the world, one of the most influential nations, and continue to be relevant across the world, we need to be at the top table with our neighbouring nations and not standing on the sidelines.  The vote on 23rd June isn’t just a vote for our generation, but for generations to come.  From all I have seen in business and as an MP, I urge you to vote Remain.