What impact would leaving EU have on day-to-day life in Stroud?

Britain lingures in an uneasy position in Europe

Cllr Paul Smith is in favour of remaining in Europe

First published in News
Last updated
Stroud News and Journal: Will Mata SNJ by , Reporter

BRITAIN is looking more likely than ever to leave Europe- but is this just a battle for political supremacy, or could the effects be felt in Stroud? Will Mata finds out.

SHOULD we stay or should we go?

This is the question on everyone’s lips regarding the European Union, but behind the pictures of Nigel Farage drinking beer and David Cameron forcing a laugh at Angela Merkel’s jokes- what does it all mean for a town like Stroud?

Surprisingly all three Stroud District Councillors I spoke to were in agreement.

Cllr’s Molly Scott Cato, Paul Smith and Haydn Jones all concurred this was an issue with huge implications, even for a small town in Gloucestershire.

Ahead of a possible 2017 in-out referendum, the big debate is a financial one. While the Euro single-currency continues to divide opinion on these shores, there can be no doubting the impact of the 28 nation group on the local economy. Liberal Democrat Cllr Smith warned that any EU exit could have an irreversible financial impact: “We have a lot of investment that uses Britain as a backdoor into Europe. Companies trading here are exempt from a tariff, so it gives them an advantage. We would lose this if we left the EU which could put business and jobs at risk and the local economy would suffer.”

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a key area of influence for the EU and the effects of it are felt right down to grass-roots level. It is one of the only aspects which Britain would be better without, according to Cllr Smith, who feels Britain would benefit from having more control over agriculture.

While Cllr Smith’s Lib Dem party are traditionally pro-Europe, the Green party aim to take positive action to reform the 28-nation group and recently elected MEP Cllr Molly Scott Cato feels more protection is needed for local businesses: “The CAP currently works in favour of big corporations, and should do more to promote local business- but this is something that needs to be changed and cannot be improved by leaving Europe” said Cllr Cato, who also argued that remaining in the EU was crucial to maintaining environmental standards.

With only around 8% of the county born in a foreign country, none of the councillors considered any possible tightening of immigration to have a massive impact on Stroud. However, the effect still might be felt by the elderly, as Cllr Cato points out many carers from the region were born overseas. Leaving the EU could see the UK tighten its borders to immigration and also restrict the freedoms of those wanting to travel within the continent. Cllr Smith said: “Travelling would be more problematic, as there would no doubt be a tighter boarder control in all European countries. It may well also effect the medical card that you can take with you, which gives you the rights to medical treatment within those countries, as if you were a citizen.”

Conservative Councillor Haydn Jones did not feel there would be a noticeable impact on freedom if we were to drop out and also disagreed with Cllr Cato that there would be a negative on the environment.

“There are positives and negatives to it all, but I would personally wish to stay. The payments and protection it offers could have a big impact on this side of things if we pulled out. Also our economy is built around Europe” he said.

While all three councillors had very different views as to whether the UK should remain connected- the consensus was clear: this is something that people in Stroud should be concerned about.

“It would have a huge significance for Stroud if we were to leave. People are not being told this in detail. People do not realise how the EU plays a part in people’s lives” summarises Cllr Smith.

Stroud may feel a long way from Europe at times- but this is one issue not to be overlooked.

Comments (3)

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1:24pm Sun 6 Jul 14

Cuthbert Thickett says...

Boarders?? I assume that you mean borders. Will Mata, if you are serious about a career in journalism, then may I suggest that you actually read what you write rather than rely on the spellchecker before you publish. I'm not sure what the Editor of the SNJ expects from his/her recruits these days, but the ability to spell is obviously not discussed at interview.
Boarders?? I assume that you mean borders. Will Mata, if you are serious about a career in journalism, then may I suggest that you actually read what you write rather than rely on the spellchecker before you publish. I'm not sure what the Editor of the SNJ expects from his/her recruits these days, but the ability to spell is obviously not discussed at interview. Cuthbert Thickett
  • Score: 2

4:02pm Sun 6 Jul 14

Phyllus Jones says...

An IN/OUT vote on the UK in the EU is so very important. We have to finally decide if we are happy being one of 28 provinces within a federal European system of government OR wish to return to the UK being a self-governing independent country. Federal systems of government such as in the US, Canada, Australia and other federal countries work well, but the citizens in those countries recognize their status and have a great pride in their central government. Floridans, Californians, New Yorkers, etc. may be proud of their states but they are even prouder to be Americans. There is an American ethos. Brits don't have any ethos of being Europeans; they are much prouder of being British. Same with the Germans, French, etc. On the other hand, 3 out of 4 new laws governing Brits' lives are coming in as Directives from the Continent, with rubber-stamping at Westminster. Brits still have no real concept that they are presently in a tight (compared to the US and Canada) federal system of government. It's hidden to them. Creation of a new federal country via the back door. I do hope that when we are given a vote on IN/OUT of the EU, proper information is given to the average person as to just what is a federal system of government. The UK is NOT simply in an economic union within the EU. Make no mistake that it is a political union -- one already well-advanced but with no legitimacy because of no approval from the British people. This is what an IN/OUT vote would be all about -- the biggest decision by the British people in modern times, perhaps all time. When the decision is made, Brits and their descendents will need to live with its consequences. It's the old choice between nationalism (running your own show, self-government) versus economics (shared interests, faster decisions, greater efficiency). Brits are so proud of being British that I would think a 'YES to EU' decision would lead to huge problems down the road. But maybe not. I just hope that, unlike at present, the government and the media provide the British people with clear precise fair information on just what is involved with being a province (Member State) of a federal EU country and just how very important the IN/OUT decision will be to their future lives.
An IN/OUT vote on the UK in the EU is so very important. We have to finally decide if we are happy being one of 28 provinces within a federal European system of government OR wish to return to the UK being a self-governing independent country. Federal systems of government such as in the US, Canada, Australia and other federal countries work well, but the citizens in those countries recognize their status and have a great pride in their central government. Floridans, Californians, New Yorkers, etc. may be proud of their states but they are even prouder to be Americans. There is an American ethos. Brits don't have any ethos of being Europeans; they are much prouder of being British. Same with the Germans, French, etc. On the other hand, 3 out of 4 new laws governing Brits' lives are coming in as Directives from the Continent, with rubber-stamping at Westminster. Brits still have no real concept that they are presently in a tight (compared to the US and Canada) federal system of government. It's hidden to them. Creation of a new federal country via the back door. I do hope that when we are given a vote on IN/OUT of the EU, proper information is given to the average person as to just what is a federal system of government. The UK is NOT simply in an economic union within the EU. Make no mistake that it is a political union -- one already well-advanced but with no legitimacy because of no approval from the British people. This is what an IN/OUT vote would be all about -- the biggest decision by the British people in modern times, perhaps all time. When the decision is made, Brits and their descendents will need to live with its consequences. It's the old choice between nationalism (running your own show, self-government) versus economics (shared interests, faster decisions, greater efficiency). Brits are so proud of being British that I would think a 'YES to EU' decision would lead to huge problems down the road. But maybe not. I just hope that, unlike at present, the government and the media provide the British people with clear precise fair information on just what is involved with being a province (Member State) of a federal EU country and just how very important the IN/OUT decision will be to their future lives. Phyllus Jones
  • Score: 1

10:35am Mon 7 Jul 14

BigBoy22 says...

"effects" not "affects". Three "councillors", not "councillor's".

As per the comment above, it's pretty basic grammar.
"effects" not "affects". Three "councillors", not "councillor's". As per the comment above, it's pretty basic grammar. BigBoy22
  • Score: 2

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