Last week I joined Alan Johnson MP to speak at the Wales launch of Labour IN for Britain, the Labour campaign to stay in Europe. Here’s why we are saying stay in.
First and foremost, whether it is for our steel industry or the many other businesses and manufacturing industries which export directly or indirectly to the EU, it is essential that we stay in the EU to give us direct access, with no barriers, to the very prosperous EU market. We currently export £5 billion worth of goods from Wales to other EU countries per year.
Furthermore, if we left, we’d soon see our international manufacturing companies moving production from their factories here to continental Europe, because they would want to be inside the EU, the largest single market in the world. So it is vital for jobs that we stay in the EU.
Working with other countries within the Europe we can act much more effectively than we ever could alone to stop the dumping of cheap Chinese steel. It is disgraceful that it is the Tory UK government which is blocking further reforms, which would enable the EU to take tougher action more promptly against the dumping of cheap imports.
Being in the EU protects British workers’ rights such as paid leave, anti-discrimination laws, protection for workers when companies change ownership and protection for public sector workers if their jobs are outsourced or privatised. If the UK were outside the EU, it would be all too easy for a right wing Government to undo these rights.
As with all levels of government and institutions, we should be seeking to make them work better for us, and the EU is no exception. But we are far better off using our considerable influence within the EU than shouting from the outside.