After months of speculation, we now know that the referendum on whether the UK should remain as part of the European Union is to take place on Thursday 23rd June. This decision is probably one of the biggest decisions our country will take in many a year.
I’m sure many people have some concerns about the EU, however, I think that it is hugely important for us to weigh up all the pros and cons. The Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney constituency and the wider south Wales region has received millions of pounds of EU investment that has supported jobs and businesses across our area. Not to mention all of the important worker’s rights that we enjoy as a result of European legislation such as entitlement to paid leave. Any concerns we may have about the way the EU operates can only be resolved by negotiation around a table and not by walking away.
The biggest benefit that I believe the EU has given us is that we have enjoyed over 70 years of sustained peace on mainland Europe, the longest period of peace in centuries.
When I visited Merthyr Tydfil College a few weeks ago for a Question & Answer session, we discussed how much investment had come to our area from the EU. I asked the students to look out for the blue plaques that identify any project that has had EU support, in the days following that event even I was surprised at the amount of plaques across our communities.
Last weekend, the Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney Labour Party selected Dawn Bowden as its candidate for the forthcoming Assembly Election. Dawn, a lifelong trade unionist and Labour Party member would be a strong voice for our constituency and I am looking forward to knocking doors alongside Dawn and Labour Party colleagues in the coming weeks and months
This article was originally published by the Merthyr Express and the Rhymney Valley Express. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised or would like to know more, feel free to contact Gerald using the contact tab above.