Friday, 17 June 2016

My Ob column - Sound reasons to Vote Remain

Last night I attended the inaugural Hyndburn Business Awards and a big thanks to Enterprising People of Clayton for making it happen. the stunningly refurbished Town Hall was packed to the rafters with great businesses and a tremendous atmosphere. Hyndburn Labour is pro-business and this is another piece in that jobs and employment jigsaw but more about that at the end.

The one dark cloud of the evening is the fear amongst Hyndburn’s exporters last night that we are going to vote to leave the EU and the negative impact it will have on their business. Each constituency including Hyndburn exports on average on £360m worth of goods to the EU every year. A lot of Hyndburn jobs are directly dependent or interdependent on that export work.

Here’s the plain truth in numbers and an easy to digest logic;

£100 billion (12 times our EU contribution) has been wiped off the FTSE 100 shares in just 4 days. £ trillions of pounds are at stake in the referendum. FTSE shares are pensions companies and shareholders panicking. The £ is falling on the worry of a Brexit and here’s why they are right to worry;

If we stick two fingers up at the EU - here’s what will happen. The EU will place huge taxes and tariffs on the UK and UK exports like it does on every other non-EU country. Ask yourself why are the USA desperate to conclude a free trade deal (TTIP) with the EU. Because they are desperate to get away from the tariffs and taxes imposed on US goods that mean they are too expensive to sell in the EU.

The plain fact is we are going to be taxed heavily if we leave so how heavily? EU taxes on imported cars are a massive 10%, we sell 2000 a day the EU. Like the sun comes up in the morning, we are going to sell less, a lot less. Which frenchman in their right mind is going to pay an extra 10% for a British car? Pointless talking about British people buying imported German Mercs and Audi’s because that isn’t going to help our car industry get around punishing EU taxes and sell more. Consequences to imports and exports are completely different.

EU taxes on textiles are 9.5% to 12% and food is 22%. Taxes that mean British companies sales to the EU falling and the EU buys 50% of our exports. Taxes that mean less jobs. Taxes that go straight into Brussels coffers - an overlooked point. As your MP I have to do what I was elected to do; speak out. In my view the UK must vote to Remain to the EU.

And it will hit public services too if the UK economy is hit. If Hyndburn only sells £300m next year or the year after we are all going to pay the price of that. Common sense. It will mean job losses. It will make our deficit grow and means taxes mean less less to spend on public services. The current cuts can’t go any deeper. Local government and the Police as we have seen are crippled already. A bigger deficit will have to mean cuts to the protected budgets; NHS, Pensions, Education and tax rises. I don’t need George Osborne or Alaistair Darling to tell me what is as obvious as the sun rising in the morning. EU taxes and tariffs mean less work in the UK.

Just like 1967 a falling £ in your pocket won’t be worth 100 pence - it will buy you less. It is being devalued and that means the price of imports rises. Exporters will of course get cheaper but that won’t be enough yo offset big EU taxes about to be slapped on our exports. And add EU regulations for our exports which we can’t escape because theres a lot more red tape being out than in.

With the falling £ and falling FTSE we are getting poorer and we haven’t even voted yet! Holidays abroad will be more expensive and we’ll all be burdened with the extra red tape of getting foreign visas just to go on holiday! VoteLeave have no plans to negotiate visa waivers.

Quite simply having a job and paying your mortgage trumps all other (EU) issues by a distance. Sending 2million+ EU workers back and in exchange receiving back to the UK 2 million ex-pats won’t help Hyndburn.

That’s why last nights event on top of the other actions being taken; annual Apprenticeship Fair, a DWP local back to work scheme with its 40% success rate, development of Junction 6 as major employment site, an open door to all Hyndburn businesses at the Council, a pro-business co-operative agenda and last nights hugely successful inaugural Hyndburn Business Awards are all vital in a world that will show little mercy to the economic losers.