During Wales Questions, yesterday, I asked the Under-Secretary of State when his department will publish a report explaining the benefits of remaining in the EU for Wales.
Now that it is the Government’s agreed position that it supports remaining in the EU, I believe that is only right that government departments produce reports on the benefits to different regions of voting to stay within the EU.
I will be voting to remain in the EU on the 23 June 2016.
The benefits membership brings for the UK as a whole are:
• 3.3 million British jobs are linked to our EU membership.
• £26.5 billion is invested in Britain by EU countries every year.
• British workers benefit from EU agreements on workers’ rights, including the right to holiday pay, paid maternity and paternity leave, anti-discrimination laws, equal pay and protection for agency workers.
• Exports to the EU are worth £227 billion a year to the British economy.
• The EU is Britain’s biggest export market: almost half of all Britain’s exports go to the EU.
• Thousands of criminals, including terrorists, have been arrested under the European Arrest Warrant. (Since 2004 11,217 arrests have taken place)
• Being in the EU enhances Britain’s global influence and allows us to take our place at the top table
On a more local level membership brings:
• Being a member of the EU means more jobs, more trade and investment. This is worth more than £3,000 a year to the average Welsh household, almost ten times the £274 that each household pays into the EU budget.
• Wales receives a net benefit of £838 million per year and would face annual costs of around £320 million if we were to leave. Meaning there are literally a billion reasons for Wales to vote to remain in the EU.
• Thanks to European cooperation more than 4,000 suspected criminals have been sent back to other EU countries and over 700 suspects have been brought back to face justice in the UK from elsewhere in the EU.
• Almost 200,000 Welsh jobs depend upon our membership of the EU.
• Flintshire County Council receives funding from the EU through the ARBED programme which improved people’s properties to cuts energy bills. In total Wales has had £61 million of investment through this fund.
• North Wales is able to apply for funding to enhance access for jobs and services such as the European Rural Development Fund and the European Structural Fund—worth a combined €9m
• The A55 will be improved in 2017, in part, because of funding secured by the Welsh Assembly from the EU.
But for me one of the overriding reasons why we should remain within the EU is because before its creation European was a continent that endured seemingly never ending war and conflict. Each and every family in the UK has a link to the First World War and many have relatives that endured the Second World War. The EU has changed the way Europe deals with its problems. We now use discussion and debate instead of bombs and battles to solve our differences. This, to me, is the most important reason why we should remain within the EU.
I am but one vote. Every person who is eligible to vote will also be able to choose the future direction of the UK. I strongly encourage people to register to vote. It takes only 5 minutes and only requires your National Insurance number. You can register to vote here.