30 Reasons for the North West to Remain
When the Tories gave up on the north and said it could go into ‘managed decline’ it was the EU that provided a helping hand.
The EU has brought unparalleled levels of investment to the North West. Without EU support, the region would have struggled to develop into a vibrant hub for people, communities, business, research and tourism. EU money has spear-headed much needed regeneration and investment across the North West.
So here are 30 reasons (of many) for the North West to Remain on the 23rd of June:
1. Over €1,131.6m has come to the North West from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Structural Funds (ESF) from 2014 to 2020.
2. In the North West, 52% of goods exports go to the EU. Large companies from all over the world choose to build offices and factories in our region, and recruit staff here, because we are a gateway to the European single market.
3. As a result of EU investment in the North West, 6,160,000 additional visitors came to the region between 2007 and 2013, with a total visitor spend of over £413m.
4. Merseyside received £700m of funding under the Objective 1 programme. In 2000 another £928m followed. It is now a ‘Transition Region’ and receives continued support from Europe.
5. Another EU funding stream, Horizon 2020, provided €2.66m to the University of Central Lancashire to lead on an international project to set a global ethical standard for research.
6. The European Social Fund, which is focused on improving education and employment opportunities, has awarded more than £400,000 to help support families in Cheshire West and Chester Council overcome barriers to get back into employment.
7. West Cumbria received a share of a €4.6m pot made available by the European Fisheries Fund. The money is aimed at developing smaller communities which depend on fishing for employment and need to adapt to the changing industry.
8. Manchester University received over £23m in ERDF towards the National Graphene research institute.
9. Research indicates that at least 56,800 jobs have been created or safeguarded as a result of EU membership in the North West between 2007 and 2013.
10. Between 2007 and 2013, 8,340 businesses have been able to open their doors in the North West because of EU funding.
11. EU investment has helped over 15,000 start-up businesses, over 900 new social enterprises and more than 4,000 people with their skills development in the North West.
12. The North West Business Leaders Team has warned against the UK leaving the EU, stating that the arguments for staying in are even more powerful from the point of view of the region.
13. Workers and consumers in the North West benefit from a range of different rights coming from the EU, whether they are commercial standards, health and safety, working hours or protections for disabled or LGBTI people.
14. 32% of people working in the North West work part-time – all these people have benefitted from EU rules ensuring that part-time workers cannot be discriminated against in relation to full-time workers.
15. North West workers also benefit from 28 days paid annual leave, 14 weeks maternity leave for women, protection against being sacked for getting pregnant, protection against excessive hours…the list goes on.
Tourism and Travel
16. Windemere Lake Cruises near Bowness was the sixth most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK – Chester Zoo is the seventh. Manchester and Liverpool were respectively the second and fourth most visited cities in the UK, with over 1.5m visitors between them in 2013 – many visitors took advantage of visa free EU travel.
17. Blackpool received £14m of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) aiding the council purchase of tourism landmarks the Tower, Winter Gardens and the Golden Mile Centre. ERDF also contributed £3m towards the resort’s sea defences and £670,000 towards tram upgrades. Now Blackpool beach has EU Blue Flag status and remains a world famous resort.
18. Tourists from outside the UK made 2,512m visits to the North West in 2014 and made a spend of £1,115m in the region – once again, many taking advantage of visa free EU travel.
19. We can’t stop pollution or climate change at our borders – but we can do something about it by working with other countries. EU rules have made our beaches, rivers and air cleaner, protected nature and wildlife and helped slow the progress of global warming.
20. The EU’s Natura 2000 network recognises sites of natural importance, such as the Ullswater Oakwoods in Cumbria. Ullswater Oakwoods show an outstanding collection of non-vascular plants and is home to a number of saproxylic insects.
21. Money from the LIFE programme is also enabling the restoration of lowland raised bogs at Bolton Fell Moss, South Solway Mosses and Roudsea Wood and Mosses.
22. It has also been used to fund better recycling infrastructure across the region, such as the joint ‘Up and Forward’ programme with Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority.
Energy and Infrastructure
23. The European Investment Bank (EIB) provided £500m to support investment across the region by United Utilities. Local schemes supported by EIB money include the pipeline to link West Cumbria to Thirlmere and the rest of the regional water network.
24. REECH (Renewables and Energy Efficiency in Community Housing), a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) initiative, has improved energy efficiency in some of the most deprived communities in Merseyside and Halton – renovating 3,000 homes and creating 363 jobs.
25. ERFD provided £18m to the ‘Connecting Cumbria Superfast Broadband’ initiative – providing access to some of our most remote communities.
26. The largest single investment (and also the largest single EU investment nationally) is the Arena and Convention Centre on the Liverpool Waterfront, which received almost £50m from Objective One.
27. ERFD also provided £10.8m to upgrade tram stops and routes throughout Manchester.
Peace and Security
28. The EU has led to an unprecedented era of peace and security, and it is inconceivable that our neighbours could now engage in military action against us.
29. During the Second World War the North West was home to many important military bases and air fields such as RAF Barton Hall near Preston, RAF Calveley near Nantwich, and RAF Crosby-on-Eden which today is known as Carlisle Lake District Airport.
30. The European Arrest Warrant has been successfully used across the region and allows for criminals to be brought to justice and prevent them from being able to hide across borders.
In short, we are stronger when 28 countries come together and say to multinational businesses ‘no, you cannot exploit our workers’, when 28 countries stand shoulder to shoulder to tackle cross-border climate change, when 28 countries share information to tackle our biggest threats, and when 28 countries say ‘we are better working together rather than alone’.
These are 30 reasons (of many) why the North West should vote to Remain on the 23rd of June.