I am encouraging Swift Action on EU Referendum

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I have welcomed  the announcement of early legislation on the EU referendum. I am encouraging the Prime Minister to announce the date of the referendum as soon as possible. I think people and businesses need clarity, facts not fear and uncertainty.

Today (27/05/2015) the government announced plans for early legislation on and in/out EU referendum however the full details of the bill being published on Thursday (28/05/2015). I would encourage the government to hold the referendum as soon as soon as it is feasible; echoing calls from business leaders and manufacturers from across the region and the country.

David Cameron has said he would be ready to hold the referendum before 2017 if he is to finish the renegotiations early.

I am glad the government appears to making this referendum a top priority. I know David Cameron may want to buy as much time possible so he can negotiate with leaders across Europe on changing our relationship in the EU. However, dragging out this process and having long periods of uncertainty could have negative consequences for the markets and businesses – it could also mean a long and confusing campaign for voters.”

I look forward to hearing more details on the exact nature of the referendum. I would encourage Mr. Cameron to make sure that talks are conducted swiftly whilst still ensuring that the UK gets the best from the negotiations. In my opinion announcing a date for the referendum should be done sooner rather than later.

Leaving the EU would jeopardise jobs, stagnate any economic recovery and damage the UK’s position internationally – that means we will be isolated from having a real say in key issues like climate change and foreign policy

I will be out across the region campaigning hard in favour of our place in the EU

I know people have concerns about the EU but this is such a critical decision it has to be made based on facts not on the scare tactics used by Eurosceptics and anti-Europeans who distort statistics”

As an MEP I see first-hand how important our place in the EU is and the benefits it brings to the region

I’ve spoken with businesses and communities that have benefited from over £640 million that has been made available to them through the EDRF”

I meet regularly with students and academics whose research has been supported by funds like Horizon 2020; a fund which keeps the UK at the forefront of ground-breaking scientific research on critical issues such as climate change and cures for cancer”

Every day, people are able to walk around their towns and cities in this region and see how European Structural Funds have transformed our landscapes

All of these programmes have helped to attract over £4 billion worth of foreign direct investment in this region since 2003 –creating tens of thousands of jobs

One of the most common arguments I hear from Eurosceptics and anti-Europeans is that we could use the money we spend on EU membership to fund these projects ourselves - but that is far too simplistic an idea

“We have all seen how unfairly and disproportionately cuts have been delivered to local authorities by the Tories – EU funds are much fairer and come with greater guarantees. To think that we would see the same level of funding from the UK government is naïve”

Perhaps one of the biggest victims of an exit from the EU would be businesses across the region. SMEs are one of the most important sources of growth and jobs in this region and without the benefits of the single market, ties with the continent and indeed the globe and cuts to their funding – we could see serious damages done to these enterprises

There is also a risk of global businesses moving away from the UK – I recently met with executives from HSBC to discuss their fears and the future of their operations in the UK – other businesses will be having similar conversations. The Midlands is the heart of UK manufacturing but many of these businesses are foreign owned – they currently benefit from direct access to the EU but if we leave what is to stop them moving to another EU nation?

This is one of the most important decisions that has ever been made about the future of this country, it’s my job to ensure that everyone has the clear information they need rather than being lost in fear-mongering stories that distort the facts