Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, has welcomed the publication from HM Treasury of a detailed analysis of the potential impact of a Leave vote on the EU Referendum but warned against only focusing on the risks and not the opportunities in the debate.
Having spoken last week at a hustings at the Worcester Sixth Form college he pointed out how local youth unemployment was close to record lows and how staying in the EU but pushing for further reform could offer the best opportunity for further investment to take it lower. He told students that they had most to gain from a Remain vote as they would live longest with the consequences and he spoke for Britain being a force for opening up Europe to the wider opportunities in the world. Today he spoke in Parliament to welcome strong inward investment in the UK and Worcester and to point to the chance of a relief rally in such investment if the UK votes to stay in.
The Treasury analysis warns of a range of scenarios if the UK were to leave the EU each of which involved losses to the economy, jobs and investment. These range from a hit to GDP of 3.6% up to 6% and an increase in unemployment by between 500,000 and 820,000 as well as a hit to wages of between 2.8% and 4% over the two years following a Brexit.
Analysis of regional impacts suggest that the West Midlands could lose 44,000 jobs of which 5,000 would be higher youth unemployment, could see house prices fall by an average of £24,000 and an overall hit of over £4 billion in GDP.
It comes after most major business groups and a range of economists warned of the dangers of the UK leaving the EU.
However Worcester’s MP has said he prefers to focus on the positive opportunities if we stay and intervened on the Treasury Minister speaking in a debate on this report to focus on the benefits of inward investment, not only from Europe but around the world, saying:
“Inward investment is crucial to this analysis and the UK has been hugely successful at attracting inward investment over recent years. In my own constituency we have seen inward investment from China, the United States and Japan and one of the things that has convinced me that we are Stronger in is speaking to these companies who feel that we are better off being in the EU and some of whom have their European headquarters in Worcester. What assessment has the Minister made of the chances of a relief rally in investment as and when the UK votes to Remain?”
The Minister praised the question and pointed out that there is a significant chance of investors choosing to spend more in the UK in the event of a Remain vote.
“Many people have commented to me that they see the debate about the referendum being framed in negative terms and I do agree that some of the campaigning from both sides is too negative. I recognise however that it is only responsible to look into the risks and possible outcomes in either eventuality and I think that this analysis from the Treasury is a valuable addition to the debate.”
“Starting from the base of a strong economy we want to maximise the opportunity to create jobs and attract investment to the UK. It is clear to me that we can do this by voting Remain and I am hopeful that Worcester’s economy could be one of the many that would benefit from investors breathing a sigh of relief and choosing to go ahead with investments and expansion in the event of the right outcome on June 24th. With new business parks such as Worcester Six looking to attract new inward investment, this could be a great opportunity to create more jobs locally.”
“With two major youth events focusing on the referendum in Worcester last week I was quite struck both from the debate at the Sixth Form College and from the cross party youth hustings at the Hive that an overwhelming majority of young people were backing the campaign to remain. I suspect that they recognise the better job opportunities that will be available to them in the future if we choose to stay in and I hope that more young people will register and vote in next month’s referendum to make sure their voice is clearly heard.”
Notes to editors:
Today’s detailed Treasury Analysis can be found and accessed here.
Robin Walker’s previous comments on business, jobs and investment in Worcester relating to the EU referendum can be found here:
His comments on the latest jobs & youth unemployment figures can be found here:
A guide to independent sources on the EU referendum can be found here:
His overall argument on the EU Referendum can be found here:
For details on how to register to vote in the EU referendum see: