Potential risks and gains of leaving the EU

From: Edward McMillan-Scott MEP and Rebecca Taylor MEP, Lib Dem MEPs for Yorkshire and the Humber.

LAST week a report by Britain’s biggest business organisation, the CBI, found that every year each person in the UK benefits to the tune of £1,225 from EU membership, compared to an annual contribution to the EU budget of just £116. That is undeniably a good deal.

Meanwhile, a recent poll has found that six per cent of businesses in the UK say they would close if we left the EU. That could mean over 4,500 businesses closing in the Yorkshire and the Humber area and over 120,000 jobs being lost. It is no surprise then that the CBI found that over three quarters of firms favour staying in the EU. They know that it is in the interest of British business to stay in.

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Put simply, it’s in Europe, in work. It is clear pulling out of the EU would risk throwing away our recovery and putting thousands of jobs at risk. Liberal Democrats are focused on helping businesses create more jobs in the UK by reforming the EU from within. We’ve already helped deliver one million new jobs since 2010, now we want to deliver one million more.

From: Nick Martinek, Briarlyn Road, Huddersfield.

HOW can you tell when a politician is lying? Yes, well, we will forget the old joke that it is when their lips are moving. But if politicians talk about “Europe” when they mean the “EU”, it is clear their intention is to deceive.

So it was, last week when Nick Clegg and Carlos Ghosn, the putative head of part French government-owned Nissan, both admonished us to stay in “Europe”. Does anyone really think that Mr Ghosn, an intelligent man, actually doesn’t know the difference between Europe and the EU? And, since he insists on being both so partisan and threatening, he has entered the political arena.

Moreover they are both wrong about the results of the UK exiting the EU. The fact is that upon leaving, we have two main options: to stay in the Single Market (SM) by remaining members of the European Economic Area (the EEA is open to non-EU nations), thereby satisfying Mr Ghosn’s and other europhile industrialists’ demands; or to leave the SM as well as the EU. Yet the vast majority of our trade, about 80 per cent, is conducted with ourselves, within the UK. It therefore makes sense to leave both the EU and the SM at the same time, so freeing ourselves from the chronic, corrupt EU bureaucracy that entangles even our internal trade currently as part of the SM. As a bonus, we would regain influence at international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Angered by bridge fines

From: Rick Sumner, Cliff Road, Hornsea.

WE recently took two of our grandchildren to the wonderful National Railway Museum in York to see the six amazing A4 engines including the Mallard.

Because we had the two youngsters with us, we decided we would not use the park and ride but drive to the museum.

We did this and had a great time looking at the six engines and some of the other superb things on display. I am not overly familiar with inner York and when we left the museum I could not see any signs for the inner ring road and found myself driving over a bridge.

I decided this was the wrong way, turned round and re-crossed the bridge. A few days later I received a letter from York City Council informing me I had driven on a bus lane, Lendal Bridge, and must pay a £60 penalty, reduced to £30 if paid promptly.

The next day I was shocked to receive another notice of a fine for the same offence timed at two minutes later than the first one. To be honest, I had not seen any clear warning that the bridge was only for buses. I have spoken to a number of friends who are familiar with York and not one of them was aware that this bridge is now for buses only. I paid £60 to York City Council but I can assure them it will be a long time before I pay any money to the traders in their city.

Debt burden on today’s students

From: David Cook, Parkside Close, Cottingham, East Yorkshire.

MY granddaughter, after her first year at university, now owes more money than I ever did in over 50 years of marriage.

I somehow managed to buy a five-bedroom house, enjoy holidays abroad, raise four sons and indulge in a variety of cars, mainly bangers, without ever being in as much debt as she is now at 19. By the end of her course she could be owing around £30,000.

It is not unlikely that she will marry a graduate with a similar financial burden. In her present position how on earth can she ever consider buying a house, raising a family, saving for a pension or enjoy a holiday anywhere? Not much reward for years of dedication to her school work. When David Cameron suggested “We’re all in this together”, I don’t think he quite realised what nonsense he was uttering.

Crazy idea on hospital meals

From: Mr D T Williams, Burniston, Scarborough.

THE Scarborough Hospital catering department was very fortunate to receive the services of chef James Martin. He then trained the cooks to become chefs, as they switched from tinned foods to locally sourced food produce and prepared menus for the week.

The result was that patients now look forward to meal times, and food wastage, which was running at about 40 per cent, has plummeted. So successful was this venture that he then managed to open a cafe and named it after Pat Bell, the catering leader. The hospital staff use this facility daily, including anyone else. This makes a handy little profit, which is then used within those departments.

As Scarborough and Bridlington hospitals have merged with York Hospital, it is now proposed to prepare all the meals there and transport them daily over here.

The problems with this crazy idea have been well quoted in the Yorkshire Post.

They have already come out with the statement “No decision has been made yet”.

Sounds ominous to me.