Manchester City Council

Welcome Back

A few words about Europe, more specifically the referendum on whether the UK stays in the EU or floats off to outer space. This has been discussed by both our Economy Scrutiny Committee,who received presentations both from Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry and from the Institute of Directors, where in both cases member surveys indicated roughly 2 to 1 support for staying in, and the Executive Committee, in the current meeting cycle.

Votes in scrutiny committees are rare but when they do happen they are always free votes. At their meeting, Economy Scrutiny agreed to ask the Council to take action to explain the benefits of EU membership to the public and recommended the Executive to commit the Council to supporting the " In " campaign with only one vote against.

The Executive unanimously agreed to support the " In " campaign but for a number of reasons that have not figured greatly in the national campaigning so far. For the most part we see the Prime Ministers renegotiation and all the stuff around benefits and immigration as a diversion from the real issues. For us it is about jobs and the quality of those jobs. High value jobs where workers get at least some legal protection from exploitative conditions. Notwithstanding the woes in the zero zone, Europe is still our biggest trading partner and allows us to benefit from trade agreements all over the world negotiated from a position of economic strength.

There are lots of moans about regulation, but much of that regulation we would have to follow any way even if we were outside the EU ( look at Norway and Switzerland )to be able to trade with the rest of Europe, and much of that regulation makes life a lot safer for British workers. Not all regulation is bad.

Earlier this afternoon I took part in the launch of Syngenta's Global Operations Centre in Didsbury. The centre which is a satellite of their HQ brings 200 new, good jobs to Manchester with the potential for more. In some respects it is a homecoming as Sygenta was born out of Ciba-Gigy and ICI. Indeed both the head of Global Operations and the head of the centre worked at ICI Blackley in years long gone by. Key reasons for being here include the availability of workers with the right skills and the science friendliness of the UK. They already have a strong relationship with the University of Manchester, and there is already a strong Agri-Tech sector in the region. But as Swiss-base company operating globally how keen would they have been to come here if we were outside the enormous market place that is the EU?

There are 11 responses to “Welcome Back”

  1. susan pine Says:

    The world wanted to trade with us before we went into the EU and they will again.

  2. Ian Says:

    Sir Richard you are like the leadership of the labour party so far from what the actual worker of the street feels about |Europe.
    Forget the economy all these well paid jobs you hope for what is actually happening is the forcing down of wages for the normal man in the street not by immigration from outside Euriope but from within.
    The only people gaining with us being in Europe is the bosses that drop the wages of normal people not your middle class elites. It will be the normal workers who will lose their jobs and it will be them that are pushed out by the newcomers who will undercut the wages not their fault but the bosses that will get work for less.
    So maybe you will gain but in the long run if the Labour party once again ignores there core vote they will never be elected again.

  3. franky Says:

    I along with my friends ex engineers from ``ferranti all support staying in the EU no matter what Cameron brought back. As you say our trade means jobs and that is in the EU

  4. Ian Says:

    Strange franky only 40% of our trade is with the EU.
    I am sure when we joined we did'nt think that we would have an EU Forign ministair unelected of course or the threat of making an EU armed force. Are you enjoying the deal that they have done with Turkey allowing their citizens unlimited access to the EU as well as taking in more refugees.
    You should try and read unbised reports instead of following the polotical elites.

  5. franky Says:

    Maybe only 40% of our trade goes to EU, but the rest is because we have the EU trade agreements. If we did'nt where would be. We are only a small island in a big world and in globalisation large countries want to to trade with big economies.
    Stop the TTIP which will harm our NHS etc

  6. Fairfax Says:

    Frankie - I fail to understand why your friends and ex engineers think you would loose your work if we left the EU.

    I assume that what they do/did is provide service or goods that businesses in Europe want, so why if we left the EU would they not want them any more?

    If you believe that they would buy the goods or services from somebody else, why are they not already doing so?

    Do not believe the scare stories from the likes of Chicken Dave or his sidekick Osbourne

  7. Bob Says:

    I don't want to see the Council or council members spending Tax payers money supporting the In campaign. If you have a view make it in your own time at your own expense and don't use council facilities paid for by taxpayers.

  8. Ian Says:

    Well said Bod agree totally

  9. franky Says:

    The EU is not perfect or really democratic, but staying in we can change it and make the discussions recorded. Labour don't seem to be making a case for staying in!!

  10. Fairfax Says:

    Franky, I think the amount of influence we have was shown by the 'deal' or lack of deal, that Chicken Dave managed to get.

    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner. As far as the EU is concerned, Britain is the lamb and we will always be outvoted

  11. Ian Says:

    We give to the EU
    16 billion a year and recieve back 7 billion a net deficit of 9 billion.

    You'll not hear many in people mention that.

    The EU was set up so Germany could sell there cars without any import taxs, and is'nt funny when the french disagree with a law they just ignore it look at how much we give to french farmers.
    Look at the lack of support from both the government and the eu with regard to our steel industry.
    Still i think the government will scare the people into staying, then when our border is down any all can come in it will be too late to change.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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