Grantham Journal column: EU membership helps to protect our wellbeing and our environment

Charmaine Morgan
Charmaine Morgan
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The EU referendum is taking place on June 23. Many young people and residents living in rented accommodation have not yet registered to vote and will have no voice. There is still time to register by calling 01476 406080 before June 7.

LabourIn argues that we are stronger by staying in the EU. The EU is not perfect but standing by our EU partners we not only strengthen our US and other international partnerships, we also help sustain the stable environment that our economy, our pensions, jobs and security depend upon. EU legislation covering building standards, safety in the workplace, workers rights to paid holiday leave, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, along with anti discrimination rights, protect us from dangerous working conditions, exploitation and financial insecurity. EU membership also helps protect our environment and our well-being. However, rather than embrace legislation that protects its people and our environment our Government has challenged renewable energy policy, even recently halting important renewable energy projects that could create British jobs and reduce domestic fuel bills, our dependency on nuclear energy and fossil fuels. It has promoted fracking, attempted to re-introduce banned pesticides and plans to introduce GM foods. These decisions could cause irreparable damage to our environment, water supplies, our ecology, our food and increase flood risk.

It is too easy and misleading to blame the EU for the failings of our Government. Our Government has allowed some of the worst income inequality to occur in Britain. As a result many British people, do not ‘feel’ they are a wealthier partner in the EU. Our Government opted out of EU border control agreements, and failed to invest adequately in alternative border controls. Despite offering some benefits the high number of economic migrants (from both inside and outside the EU) has caused significant additional competiton for school places, jobs and housing while our public services, including our NHS, are underfunded and overstretched. Our Government criticises EU and Eastern European competition yet nurtures an unsustainable trade policy with China at the cost of British and EU manufacturing jobs. It failed to implement adequate apprenticeship and vocational training contributing to a skills shortage and dependency on migrant workers. Despite some arguing that remaining in the EU affects our national sovereignty, our own Government wants to introduce TTIP, which would undermine our public services and irreversibly damage the ability of future British Governments to challenge corporations. A resident recently described the EU as ‘a safety net protecting us from the worst excesses of our Government’. Only the collective strength of EU determined to protect its people has prevented TTIP being implemented to date.