I want to make sure everyone can find out about the many positive things that our European Union membership brings to the South East of England and the rest of Britain. From cleaner beaches to protecting your rights at work, there’s so many important ways in which we benefit. Click on the links below to find out more about what we in the South East get from the EU and why it matters.
Creates jobs and helps our economy grow
It is hard to overstate how important our membership of the EU is for the British economy. Being a member of the EU means our businesses have access to the biggest single market in the world. That encourages more businesses to move to the UK in the first place, and for those that are here already it encourages them to expand. That, in turn, means more jobs: experts estimate that one in every ten jobs in the UK depends on trade with EU countries - and many more will benefit indirectly. HMRC calculated that 3,332 businesses in the South East export goods to the EU, benefitting from access to the Single Market. It's little wonder then that so many British businesses, large and small, say that they want us to stay - and warn that to leave would be a disaster. Find out more here.
Protects us at work and as consumers
Our consumer and worker rights have been enhanced greatly by the EU. The products we buy must be properly labelled, fairly marketed and have a secure returns policy. The European Working Time Directive (WTD) protects four weeks of paid annual leave for every worker in Europe and many other pieces of EU law both stop British workers from being exploited at work and protect good employers. Find out more here.
Delivers vital investment
For 40 years, EU funded projects have brought new jobs and investment here in the South East. Although the South East is, overall, a prosperous part of the UK, it continues to receive investment from the EU. From research grants for students to helping businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, the EU’s investment in the South East makes a big contribution to our growing economy. Find out more here.
Improves our Environment
The South East is home to an array of unique and wonderful natural habitats many of which need our protection. The EU has recognised this, creating over 60 sites of special protection in the South East, and 18 Blue Flag beaches. For British environmental organisations, our membership of the EU continues to be a vital source of funding for conservation work. This means that the UK now has cleaner water, safer beaches, and thriving environments for some of our most endangered species. Find out more here.
Provides peace and security
The creation of the EU has led to an unprecedented era of peace and security across Europe – it is now inconceivable that member states would go to war with each other. EU countries are integrated economically and socially, leading to greater security. European co-operation has also helped bring criminals to justice, with the European Arrest Warrant meaning that those who flee abroad after committing crimes can be apprehended and returned to the country where they committed the crime and face the consequences of their actions. Find out more here.
Makes travel and tourism easier for everyone
Membership of the EU means that it is easier than ever to travel across Europe - all you need is your passport. In the South East of England alone, tourists from Europe brought £1 billion to our local economy last year. Find out more here.