Gloria writes a column for the Ashfield Chad newspaper every week. Here is her column from the 15th June 2016 edition:
Next week, Ashfield will make the biggest decision we have faced in a generation.
I’ve heard from lots of you about this, with strong views on both sides.
I wanted to explain why I am voting to remain in the EU.
I share your anger about the fact that over a thousand people in Ashfield are unemployed, and many more in low-paid jobs with poor conditions.
There’s no doubt that working people in Eastwood deserve better.
But what happens on June 24th?
There aren’t enough decent jobs in Ashfield, but I am worried that Toyota and Rolls Royce, which offer high-quality, well-paid jobs locally, have warned of cutbacks if we leave the EU.
We can’t afford to lose jobs like this. In fact we need more of them.
I share your anger that only five per cent of our school-leavers do apprenticeships and that the use of zero-hours contracts is rising … it’s a scandal. The Tories will never tackle this, but a Labour Government would.
I’ve heard your anger on immigration – and we do need more control over the flows of people coming here. Unrestricted mass migration can be bad for wages and social cohesion.
The EU should pay into a Migration Solidarity Fund, supporting countries like ours, experiencing the fastest changes. We must ensure wages aren’t undercut, and jobs aren’t advertised abroad before appearing in the UK. And the EU should look again at freedom of movement rules.
Nobody denies the EU needs to change- but it brings investment, jobs and protection for workers. The Tories fought tooth and nail against the European guarantee of paid holiday and maternity pay. But a Labour Government signed up to it, and while we remain in Europe, the Tories can’t touch these rights.
Ashfield also benefits directly from EU money. Between 2007 and 2013, Ashfield received £1.4 million to fund development projects, invest in businesses, create jobs and support agriculture. £500,000 went on training for people starting new businesses, while £60,000 was used to link undergraduates with local employers. Over £400,000 of EU money has also funded the redevelopment of Kirkby town centre. All these benefits for our community would be lost if we leave next week.
I want to be clear about where Labour party, the trade unions and I stand. Of course you can reject our view of what best serves working people, but I felt I owed it to you all to make the case.
But whatever happens on 24th June, I will still be your MP and I will continue to fight for what’s best for our community.