EUROPE: The case for staying in

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I would like to present an argument that staying in the EU will result in a better future for the people of the UK.

I’m not a supporter of Cameron, and he would probably have to resign in the event of a Leave vote, but unfortunately, he is likely to be replaced by Boris Johnson. Leaving will probably lead to the break-up of the UK. Parts of the UK are more in favour of continued membership.

A claim of Leave campaigners is that EU membership costs £350m per week. The website Full Fact gives the UK’s contribution as £250m per week in 2015, not counting rebates. We also get value from membership.

A House of Commons paper states that three million UK jobs are linked to exports to the EU. In 2014, EU countries accounted for £496bn of the Foreign Direct Investment, 48 per cent. A survey found the UK attracted more FDI projects than any other European country in 2014.

Supporting trade in the EU encourages competition and lower prices. There seems to be consensus among analysts that families will face higher costs if we leave.

The Leave campaign says that if we were not members we could use the fee to support the NHS, but analysts say that if we leave, the UK economy will shrink and that money will not be available.

One correspondent referred to the Schengen Agreement, which led to Europe’s borderless area. The UK is not a signatory to this. We do not have to allow criminals into the country. That we do is a failure to properly police our borders. Immigration from non-EU countries can be controlled, but the government has failed to meet its targets.

The most logical way to trade with the EU would be to join the European Economic Area. Countries in the EEA have to abide by EU rules, but have no say in the making of them, and they contribute to the EU budget.

Let’s look at rules of the EU that the British government opposed – limits on bankers’ bonuses and a ban on the pesticide that it is believed has contributed to a decline in the bee population.

Britain cannot tackle environmental issues on its own. We cannot tackle over-fishing ourselves.

The government is so sure that staying in the EU is good that it has spent £10m on a campaign, to say nothing of the cost of the referendum. The Prime Minister has put the future prosperity of the country, your children and grandchildren into the hands of people who, one might think, are less likely to know the full implications of the possible outcomes than those paid to make such decisions.

I concur with Charles Dunstone, founder of Carphone Warehouse, who says, “In my experience there are calculated risks, there are clever risks, and there are unnecessary and dangerous risks – and from all I can conclude, Brexit sits firmly in the latter camp.”

Charles Thompson

Blyth