On 23 June there will be a crucial vote about whether Britain should stay in the European Union. I will be voting remain for a number of practical reasons.
To begin with, the Rhymney Valley receives significant European funds to help our young people train and to develop our economy. Bargoed, for example, has had huge investment from Europe and so have our local colleges. If we pull out of Europe this kind of investment will not be replaced by the Conservative Government.
Another important reason concerns our economy. Three of the main employers in the area operate on a European and a global basis. D S Smith of Caerphilly is a major recycling company and invests across the EU. Their view is that it would be very harmful if Britain was to cut itself off from Europe. Similarly, GE Aviation is an American company with an important investment in Nantgarw. It employs many hundreds of people from the Rhymney Valley. GE Aviation also believes that Britain should stay in Europe because it makes economic sense.
In Hengoed there is also Norgine, a Dutch based pharmaceutical company which is a major local employer.
A third important reason why we should maintain our co-operation with Europe concerns the fight against crime. One of the big successes of Europe has been the development of the European Arrest Warrant. Thanks to Europe, if say, a Frenchman or a Bulgarian commits a crime in Britain and travels back to their home country, it is now possible to transport them easily back to Britain to face justice. If Britain voted to leave the EU, then international criminals would be amongst those who would be very pleased.
These are three reasons why, in my mind, it makes sense to remain in the EU. If Britain were to leave the EU things wouldn’t change overnight. But in the long term Britain will become a poorer, weaker and less safe country.