Theresa Griffin’s Blog: 8th – 14th October 2018

Welcome to this week’s update on my recent activities in the European Parliament and the North West of England!

Brexit impact

Brexit puts at risk a great amount of investment that has had a huge positive impact across the North West and UK over many years, transforming communities and industries. I have had several meetings this week to discuss the impact of Brexit with various stakeholders, including a meeting with citizen groups to discuss their future if there is no deal on Brexit; with Executive Director of the National Grid to discuss the impact of Brexit on the energy sector; with Lord Willy Bach on policing post-Brexit and with Director of Immunisation Policy at Seqirus on the supply of medicines post-Brexit. Pharmaceuticals are a key growth sector and major employer in the region and must be protected in any Brexit. I have also been highlighting the adverse impact Brexit will have on the creative industries, a sector bigger than oil and gas, automotive, aerospace and life sciences combined! To watch my video on the impact of Brexit on the creative industries, click here.

Digital economy

The Industry committee (ITRE), voted on the Opinion on which I was the Shadow Rapporteur: ‘Education in the Digital Era: challenges, opportunities and lessons for EU policy design’. It was passed with a huge majority of 48 to 1, which is a big win and will go some way towards promoting the further integration of technology into education across Europe. With MEP colleagues I met Universities UK to discuss continued UK participation in Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship technology and research programme worth tens of billions of pounds, post-Brexit.

Social equality

I was privileged to have been able to speak at several events related to social equality and justice, including a European Women’s Alliance event on women at the top levels of policymaking; the Global Day of Action against fracking; a Parkinson’s Disease event hosted by my Labour colleague Rory Palmer MEP and a meeting on the suffering of Tamils with the Rev Fr Sebamalai Emmanuel from Sri Lanka.

Sustainable packaging

I was pleased to meet with and address the European Forum for Manufacturing to discuss ways to reduce the use of plastics in manufacturing and packaging to make the industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly. In my speech to them, I highlighted the need for a ‘just transition’ to ensure that workers are upskilled and retrained to access the jobs of the future and the need to embed re-use and recycling into our economy and everyday practices. Businesses and institutions across all sectors need to practice joined-up thinking with the manufacturing industry to find sustainable alternative forms of packaging. For more details on measures to tackle single-use plastic, watch my video here.

Vehicle tyre and building fire safety

My meetings with Unite the Union, representatives from the tyre industry, BASF and Fire Safe were an excellent opportunity to review safety laws and practices relating to vehicle and building safety. BASF updated us on their fire safety pilot project, in light of the action taken by myself and my Labour colleague, Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, in passing an earlier amendment on this pilot project for increased fire safety in buildings. Especially in light of recent disasters such as the fire at Grenfell tower, these legislative measures are more important than ever and we must keep up the pressure to ensure people are as safe as possible. Whether it is campaigning for better tyre safety, or for safer building materials in buildings, I will continue to work with experts and trades unions on policy solutions that will maximise safety for European citizens.

Campaigning with Wirral Labour

It was a pleasure to join Jean Robinson and the whole campaign team in Upton ward on the Wirral where there is a key by-election – even if the weather left something to be desired! This is important if Labour is to retain control of Wirral Council, but is also in Wirral West constituency, which is the most marginal of the Wirral parliamentary seats. I urge as many Labour Party members and supporters to go over and campaign for Jean in the coming weeks.