Stretford & Urmston could get huge economic boost if UK re-joined the EU, Rejoin EU Party’s by-election candidate says
Stretford & Urmston, and Greater Manchester generally, hugely benefited from EU membership and a quick return to the European fold could transform the area’s prospects in 2023 and beyond, the Rejoin EU Party candidate in this Thursday’s by-election says.
Jim Newell points out that Manchester received significant EU funding before the 2016 referendum, according to local newspaper reports, including £10.8m to help expand the city’s new tram network and £7m for a re-purposed bank of shipping containers – the Sharp Project at Newton Heath – which has helped hundreds of digital businesses get off the ground and added £200m to the local economy, as well as 1,000 jobs.
To these, one can add numerous re-generation projects in Greater Manchester part-funded over the years by the European Regional Development Fund. Worth mentioning — as the Stretford & Urmston constituency is home to Manchester United’s ground at Old Trafford — is that the ERDF provided a quarter of the cost of the £12m National Football Museum which, since 2012, has become one of the UK’s most visited attractions. The ERDF also provided £5m to help meet the cost of insulating hundreds of council houses in Manchester.
It’s ironic in view of Labour’s pro-Brexit stance that at the time, Liz McInnes, Labour MP for Heywood & Middleton, acknowledged that the city got a fantastic return in terms of jobs, skills and local infrastructure from EU membership, a return that has in no way been replaced by the Government’s “levelling-up” agenda.
On the contrary, the Resolution Foundation said in June this year that addressing Manchester‘s problem of relative deprivation would require investment far beyond anything now being contemplated.
Therefore, since the UK’s productivity problems lie in its under-performing major cities, and since no strategy for “making Brexit work” has a cat in hell’s chance of succeeding without addressing productivity, it’s clear that “making Brexit work” is both a fantasy and an economic disaster for areas like Stretford and Urmston.
Meanwhile, Brexit is damaging the wider British economy, hiking costs and making people poorer. The cost of imported food from the EU has shot up, adding £210 to average household food bills in the two years to the end of 2021, according to London School of Economics research cited by The Guardian earlier this month. As low-income households spend a greater share of their income on food, Brexit has affected the poorest households the most.
Jim said: “It’s clear that a quick return to the EU’s trade structures, such as the single market and customs union, would go a long way to solving the worst of these immediate problems.
“But in the longer run, it’s also plain that re-joining the EU, with all its funding and membership benefits, would significantly increase prosperity and opportunities for people in Stretford & Urmston. That’s why a vote for the Rejoin EU Party this Thursday, rather than for pro-Brexit parties at Westminster, would make a big difference.”
Follow Jim on Twitter: @JamesNe84400310
Link to campaign video: https://t.co/O3xG35Go7V
Find out more about his campaign at https://therejoineuparty.com/stretford-urmston-by-election/