Britain Stronger In Europe have written an article for Shields Gazette readers explaining why it is better for South Tyneside to vote Remain.
Tomorrow we face the biggest decision in a generation. A decision which will have a huge impact on the daily lives of people here in South Shields and South Tyneside.
The North East is the nation’s exporter. We are one of the few areas of this nation who have a trade surplus. Every day products leave our factories for Europe, many through the great gateway that is the Port of Tyne. Europe brings our borough jobs and economic growth.
Read the case for Vote Leave
Not only that since 2007, our borough has received more than £4m in European funding.
European money goes to the areas of greatest need. Since David Cameron entered Downing Street we have seen the steady move of UK government spending from the north to the more affluent areas of the south. European money is a vital safety-net.
Can you really imagine Boris Johnson and Michael Gove making up the difference if we lost it?
Most of the EU investment into South Shields went into a project to support new enterprise supporting enterprise coaching in the area and the One Trinity Green development. Where will this support come from if we sever ties with Europe, the UK Government? It’s doubtful.
The Vote Leave campaign have been touring the country with a bus that has a lie plastered on it.
It says we pay £350m-a-week to the EU. It’s wrong, it doesn’t take into account a rebate that the British Government negotiated and the reality is we get more out of Europe than we put in.
We are a net recipient of EU funds. For every £1 we put in, we get almost £10 back in jobs, trade, investment and growth.
We cannot take that fact for granted, we must think about the future for the next generation.
Whatever concerns you may have about immigration – it is worth remembering that just 1.6% of people in the North East are foreign-born – they will not be dealt with by voting to leave.
Norway, for example, is not a member of the EU and has a much higher rate of immigration than its neighbours.
Our region has much to lose from a vote leave. A higher proportion of our exports – 58% - go to Europe than other UK regions, the average is 44%. We are part of something huge - the world’s largest trading bloc. The EU free trade area is bigger than China and bigger than America.
South Tyneside gets a good deal from being part of Europe. Our holidays are cheaper because we are in Europe. Our weekly shop is cheaper because we are in Europe.
On the other hand, all of the economic experts agree that Brexit represents a huge risk for the economy. The World Bank, the governor of the Bank of England and the Institute for Fiscal
Studies agree. This is not scaremongering: a vote to Leave is a vote for job losses. The North East has the highest unemployment rate in the country, why do something to bring about a recession when we have just recovered from the last one?
Vote Leave cannot tell you what a British exit from Europe will look like. They do not know what trade deals we will be able to negotiate if we go it alone.
They say leaving means more money for our NHS. Another bare-faced lie, the sad truth is the very opposite; trashing our economy will mean less money for our public services not more.
We would urge the people of South Tyneside to consider one other thing before they go to the polls. The European Union was created to stop wars and it has been the world’s most successful peace process. Do we really want to turn our back on that?
Voting to Remain is the right choice for the North East. It means more jobs, lower prices, stronger public services and a decent, tolerant Great Britain. If we vote to leave, there is no going back. Don’t risk it.