18/06/2016

Vote REMAIN for the sake of our local economy

Whilst there are many good reasons why we should vote to remain in the European Union on Thursday, these are being thoroughly covered elsewhere and there's probably a need to raise awareness of the stakes for us in Wales and, since I'm writing from Aberystwyth, in Ceredigion specifically.

Most of Wales is designated as a ‘less developed region’ of the EU by virtue of our low overall income in line with much of Portugal, Southern Italy, Greece and most of Eastern Europe. It often comes as a surprise to people that we are so isolated in Western Europe in terms of our poverty and on a par with these places but the map illustrates this very well (click to enlarge). 

As such, in line with those other regions marked out in yellow, we are given European funding to help us develop. As a result, Wales benefits by a net total of around £245 million a year from EU membership. 

In Ceredigion this has resulted in funding for some 80 different community and infrastructure projects in the county over the past eight years. These and other initiatives have led to the sort of gains in this graphic:

And this one...



All this is on top of around £44 million received by Ceredigion farmers each year as part of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and the tens of millions of pounds of research funding received by the county’s universities.

The benefits of all this to our local economy, culture and environment have been immense and undeniable. If we didn't receive such EU funding, Ceredigion would be a very different place, with far greater unemployment and depopulation of young people and significantly fewer community facilities. 

It defies belief that, in the event of us leaving the EU, a Westminster government would simply agree to maintain this level of funding for us, especially given the competing pressures in England and the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent warning of a major economic crash in the event of a vote to leave.

If you care about Ceredigion and the survival of other similar communities around Wales into the future, a strong vote to remain in Europe is essential.

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