InsideMoray has invited all political representatives for Moray to give their views to constituents on a monthly basis via our community news site. We are delighted to note that Labour, Greens, Conservative and SNP have all agreed to do so – so we are pleased to welcome Angus Robertson MP, who this month urges a ‘Remain’ vote in the forthcoming EU referendum.
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT it was safe to out after the Scottish Parliament elections, we still have the EU Referendum to go.
While the Scottish Parliament elections are very important for our schools, hospitals and public services, the outcome of the referendum also has significant implications for our future.
The EU has not only delivered 70 years of peace and prosperity and continues to do so, it also delivers positive impacts across every area of our lives.
I believe that membership of the European Union has made us wealthier, healthier and greener. The way we do things is fairer and membership has strengthened our economy.
Membership of the European Union has made us wealthier. Being part of the European Union benefits business, particularly small businesses as it gives them access to shared markets and an increased openness to flows of trade, investment and labour.
Exports to other EU countries make up about half of goods exports and about 44 per cent of total exports. This has been particularly good for the food and drink sector which is so important to Scotland not least Moray. Consumers also benefit from access to cheaper and better-quality goods.
Membership of the European Union has made us safer. The democratic workings of the EU has allowed us to establish close relationships with our EU partners so we can work together and adapt to the threats faced by the modern world.
If the UK chooses to leave the EU we may lost direct access to some of the arrangements such as the European Arrest Warrant, the European criminal records system and EU-Interpol co-operation that are vital for doing what we can to combat terrorism and other forms of crime.
Membership of the European Union has made us greener: We have worked together on shared environmental policies because we realise that protecting the environment is bigger than individual member states, we have to see the wider picture of climate change we have to do that together.
The drive to tackle Climate Change has been good for jobs in terms of harnessing renewable energy such as the recently confirmed Beatrice Offshore Wind Project in the Moray Firth, which will provide important opportunities for areas like Buckie and for other companies in Moray who can be part of the supply chain. It has also helped in concrete ways such as air quality for example tackling the scourge of acid rain was a direct result of the actions of the EU.
Membership of the European Union has made us fairer: membership of the EU has also resulted in improved working conditions for people, for example, via regulations such as the Working Time Directive designed to prevent employers requiring their workforce to work excessively long hours, with implications for health and safety. EU legislation has also helped with non-discrimination and the introduction of parental rights which have benefited so many families.
In terms of Scotland’s role in the EU, we want to grow our influence in the EU to benefit Scottish jobs, businesses, our economy and our society. Tourism is vital to Scotland with overseas visitors spending £1.8 billion in 2014 – around £900 million of which was from visitors from within Europe.
On June 23 it will be your chance to decide where we go from here, a vote to remain is a vote to ensure we are wealthier, healthier, greener, fairer and safer.