Yesterday Leeds’ Judith Blake joined over 60 other Labour Council leaders to warn that Brexit would cause “a further funding black hole” in their budgets, which are already strained after six years of cuts to local government by the Tories.’It is our communities which would be hardest hit”, they warned – “the disastrous economic effects of Brexit could mean catastrophe for our councils’ ability to deliver the services people rely on. . . in almost every area of council work, leaving the EU would have a negative impact.”
You can read the letter in full below.
“As Council Leaders delivering services to thousands of citizens every day, we are united in the view that Britain is better off in Europe. From supporting local businesses and jobs, to protecting working people and supporting our health and environment, Britain’s EU membership is vital. If we leave Europe, it is our communities that will be hardest hit.
The EU is by far the UK’s largest trading partner and the world’s largest single market; half of our exports go to EU countries, worth £227 billion in 2014 to the UK economy, and over 200,000 British companies export to the EU. The economic damage that leaving the EU would bring would wreak havoc on our local businesses and make it harder than ever for Councils to deliver the services people rely on. Given the government’s recent decision to devolve business rates, in that context the disastrous economic effects of Brexit could mean catastrophe for our councils’ ability to deliver the services people rely on.
Local councils have a crucial role to play in helping protect our natural environment and secure a lower carbon future and we have been spurred on in our efforts by the standards and challenges set by the EU. British shoppers in our local highstreets and town centres are better protected than ever thanks to EU consumer protection and they pay lower prices on everything from passenger air fares to mobile phone roaming charges thanks to being in Europe. On average, we know for families in our communities this adds up to around £450 a year due to lower prices because of our access to the largest single market in the world.
Our local police can better serve our communities because of the international intelligence they receive from European forces, and because they have the tools they need to do their job. The European Arrest Warrant has led to over 1,100 suspected criminals being arrested and returned to Britain to face justice; Britain has also sent 7,400 suspected criminals who had fled to our country back to the EU. Our communities would not be safer if we abandoned such an important tool in the fight against crime.
Local Councils have already had to make substantial cuts to their budgets over the last 6 years and leaving the EU will represent a further funding black hole that would make it harder to build homes and protect our towns against flooding.
In almost every area of council work, leaving the EU would have a negative impact. To successfully continue our jobs of delivering better services, safe communities and prosperous places we believe it is vital that the UK votes to remain on the 23rd of June.”
The full list of signatories is HERE.