It would be a financial disaster for every hard-working family if we leave the European Union.

But don’t take my word for this.

Here’s what the CBI, the organisation representing Britain’s top bosses, has to say:

“Every household in the UK is better off by £3,000 a year thanks to Britain’s membership of the EU.”

And the influential Economist magazine commented:

“Britain would find itself a scratchy outsider with somewhat limited access to the single market, almost no influence and few friends. And one certainty: that having once departed, it would be all but impossible to get back in again." 

Members of the Obama administration have made clear that they want Britain to stay as a leading member of the EU. The US has no appetite to negotiate yet another free trade agreement with a single country rather than an important economic trading block.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman was absolutely right to point out that leaving the EU would be detrimental for UK interests. By stating, in black and white, that the US is not in the market for agreements with individual countries, he clearly debunks Eurosceptic claims that the UK would be better off negotiating its own trade agreements rather than within the EU framework.

The impact of Brexit here in the West Midlands would be devastating. For example, British cars exported to the United States would face a 2.5 per cent tariff, making it even easier for our German and Italian competitors which remain in the EU. 

The Government has promised a referendum before the end of 2017 so that people can decide whether Britain should remain a member of the EU. This is one of the most important decisions any of us will take in our lifetime.

Labour IN for Britain

I’ll be fighting for a vote in favour of staying In the EU.

It’s easy to moan about Europe. We’ve all sometimes fallen into the trap of complaining about Brussels and its bureaucracy, but the simple fact is our economy would be hammered if Britain quit the EU. Firms would find it more difficult and costly to trade with other European countries, pushing up unemployment and inflation, here in the West Midlands and across the country.

Of course we pay money into Brussels each year. But we also get money back through EU funding programmes and the British economy gets a huge boost through the EU single market.

Look around the West Midlands. Huge regeneration projects have been financed by the EU. Building the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall in Birmingham, for example, just wouldn’t have been possible without money from the European Regional Development Fund.

Europe is our largest trading partner. We do more business in Europe than anywhere else in the world, exporting £147 billion worth of goods last year alone.

Opting out of the EU would mean we still have to sell goods to European countries, but we’d no longer have a place at the table to decide the framing of new laws. And, crucially, we wouldn’t automatically benefit from free trade that the single market allows.

Some people argue that we should follow Norway and Sweden, which have access to the single market but are not bound by EU laws on areas like agriculture, justice and home affairs. Although these countries are not part of the EU they still have to pay into it and abide by EU trade regulations, but are unable to influence them.

If we adopted the Norway model we would still pay up to 94 per cent of the current EU membership costs and will have lost significant influence.

It really is a ‘no brainer’. Britain must remain a member of the European Union.