Need to lead not leave

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Putting aside the claims, and counter claims, of the rival “in” and “out” groupings, I do believe it is in the UK’s interests to remain a member of the European Union.

The EU is by no means perfect but it is a case of being better together – better off, safer and stronger with more influence in the world inside (rather than outside) the EU.

Our friends throughout the world – in the Commonwealth, Europe and the USA – all want us to stay.

The Bank of England, IMF and all the major independent economic forecasters support our continued membership of the EU.

Most of those involved with the country’s security believe we are better-off remaining a member. Business is generally supportive of continued EU membership – none more so than Nissan.

Being inside the EU does encourage foreign investment into Britain.

What is the alternative?

Is it the free trade arrangement Canada has been seeking for years to negotiate? Or is it trading links like Norway or Switzerland – paying in still to the EU budget for single market membership and having to accept the rules (eg free movement of labour) without any say?

It was because we didn’t like the alternative that we sought to join the Common Market in the first place.

Certainly, as one of the more wealthy members, we are net contributors to the EU budget. But we do receive a rebate and the North East is one of the regions which benefits the most.

Yes, migration is too high and needs to be better controlled. But under this Government the UK already has more control of its borders than most other EU nations.

Migrants from within the EU are generally younger, with more skills and paying-in to the nation’s finances. It is those from outside the EU who tend to be older, family members, needing more services and benefits in return.

Britain’s role should be to lead Europe, not leave it.

Peter Wood