300 Labour Councillors have today signed a letter warning that “the disastrous economic effects of Brexit could mean catastrophe for our councils’ ability to deliver the services people rely on.”
Councillors from across the East Midlands argue that in order to continue to support local businesses and jobs, remaining in the EU is crucial. The letter argues that in almost every area of council work, leaving the EU would have a negative impact. In particular they use the examples of policing, environmental protection and funding for flood protection as areas that could be damaged if the UK votes for leave in June. They also argue that Brexit would leave local people £450 a year worse off as a result of higher prices on the high street.
The letter is part of the Labour Party’s ‘Labour In for Britain’ campaign to persuade people to vote to remain in the EU referendum on June 23rd. The letter was signed by 300 councillors from across the East Midlands. The Labour campaign is chaired by Alan Johnson MP nationally and Liz Kendall in the East Midlands with the backing of Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of the Labour Shadow Cabinet.
As councillors delivering services to thousands of citizens every day, we are united in the view that Britain is better off in the EU. From supporting local businesses and jobs, to protecting working people and supporting our health and environment, Britain’s EU membership is vital. If we leave, it is the people in our communities that will be hardest hit.
The EU is by far the UK’s largest trading partner and the world’s largest single market; half of our exports go to EU countries, worth £227 billion in 2014 to the UK economy, and over 200,000 British companies export to the EU. The economic damage that leaving the EU would bring would wreak havoc on our local businesses and make it harder than ever for councils to deliver the services people rely on. Given the Government’s recent decision to devolve business rates, the disastrous economic effects of Brexit could mean catastrophe for our councils’ ability to deliver the services people rely on.
Local councils have a crucial role to play in helping to protect our natural environment and securing a lower carbon future. We have been spurred on in our efforts by the standards and challenges set by the EU. British shoppers in our local highstreets and town centres are better protected than ever thanks to EU consumer protection and they pay lower prices on everything from passenger air fares to mobile phone roaming charges. We know that, on average, the lower prices that come from being able to access the largest single market in the world save families in our communities £450 a year.
Our local police can better serve our communities because of the international intelligence they receive from European forces, and because they have the tools they need to do their job. The European Arrest Warrant has led to over 1,100 suspected criminals being arrested and returned to Britain to face justice; Britain has also sent 7,400 suspected criminals who had fled to our country back to the EU. Our communities would not be safer if we abandoned such an important tool in the fight against crime.
Local councils have already had to make substantial cuts to their budgets over the last 6 years and leaving the EU will represent a further funding black hole that would make it harder to build homes and protect our towns against flooding.
In almost every area of council work, leaving the EU would have a negative impact. To successfully continue our jobs of delivering better services, safe communities and prosperous places we believe it is vital that the UK votes to remain on the 23rd of June.