Wales is stronger, safer and better off in Europe: Carwyn Jones

Welsh Labour today kick started their campaign for Britain to remain in the EU with a visit from Alan Johnson and the Labour IN for Britain campaign bus at a visit in Merthyr. During the visit the First Minister, Shadow Welsh Secretary and Alan Johnson spoke about the positive impact EU membership has on Wales’ economy.

EU membership has a positive impact on jobs and our economy:

-          Goods exports from Wales to the EU are worth £5.8 billion a year

-          585 firms in Wales are estimated to export to the EU, and 329 to import from it

-          Around 191,300 jobs in Wales are linked to trade with the EU, 100,000 directly with exports

-          Between 2014 and 2020 Wales will receive around £1.9 billion of structural funds - East Wales will receive £327.6 million, and West Wales and The Valleys 1.6 billion

-          Wales will receive as much as £261m from the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund which provides income support to farmers through CAP

-          Wales will get £1.8m per year from the European Fisheries Fund and £148m from the Agriculture Fund for Rural Development, helping rural communities diversify their economies.

Speaking after the launch of the Labour IN for Wales short campaign, First Minister and Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones said:

“Wales is stronger, safer and better off in Europe. Leaving Europe would be catastrophic for Wales and Britain, risking our prosperity, threatening our safety and diminishing our influence in the world.

“Our EU membership means business and consumers benefit from free trade with European countries which means jobs and opportunities here in Wales.

“Almost 600 firms export around £6 billion worth of goods to the EU supporting 100,000 Welsh jobs and employers like Tata, Airbus and Ford are clear that Britain’s role in the EU is important for them and their UK operations.

“The reality is that there are many different companies in Wales who are here because it's their European base. If we can't act as their European base they'll go elsewhere.”

Alan Johnson MP, Chair of Labour In For Britain campaign, added:

“Labour believes in standing up for working people in Wales whose jobs and communities depend on trade with Europe.

“Around 100,000 Welsh jobs are linked to exports to the EU, in small businesses and large ones alike. In North Wales, where Airbus employs 6,000 local people, I know that being able to operate across national borders keeps the factory and vital jobs in the area. 

“In terms of our steel industry, it is clear that ensuring a viable future for steel in Wales will be significantly harder if we leave the EU and it becomes harder to sell Welsh steel into a European market.

“And the Welsh agriculture sector will certainly lose out if we leave. Between 2014-2020, this important sector stands to receive around £2 billion of European funding.

“Those are just three examples, but there are many more, and it is vital that all those across Wales whose jobs and businesses will be affected make their voices heard over the next six weeks.

“And though the economic arguments in favour of staying in Europe are overwhelming, this referendum is about even more than that. It is about the kind of United Kingdom we want to be.

“Labour believes in standing up for the rights of everyone to be treated fairly at work – and for the rights at work that are guaranteed by our membership of the EU.

“And we believe in Britain taking a leading role in tackling the issues too big for any one country to solve alone, whether that’s climate change, global poverty, tax avoidance or cross-border crime.

“That’s why the Labour Party is united in campaigning for Britain to remain in Europe. That’s because Labour values are at the heart of this campaign – and that’s the message we’ll be taking to Labour voters across Wales and the whole of the UK over the next six weeks.”

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