Long gone is the beating heart of our industrial Northern Powerhouse we now have a new multiplying industry of business, sport and leisure. Now there was a time when Northern cities were thick of smoke, engines turning, combines combusting, factories full to the seam with workers. Times have moved on, with the introduction of new technologies and the reduction of EU carbon emissions our cities are now cleaner, greener and awash with great Architecture, bustling shopping hubs, new business districts and thriving city centres. The North is now a tourist powerhouse, our Northern cities are the life and soul of the country. From Manchester to Leeds, from Sheffield to Newcastle, York to Harrogate and all the ones in between. Our Northern cities are thriving in the hustle and bustle of the newly advanced world. Many of you may not know but our cities have had a mass regeneration to due billions of EU funding set aside to regenerate our public spaces and invest in our new industries of business, hospitality, sports, leisure, science and education.
If Britain left the European Union there is nothing to guarantee a British Government would continue to invest so richly in the North. If you do research into many of the large scale projects of shopping centres, business districts, high rise buildings, railways, trams, museums and universities you will often find it is our European partners that helped to fund and plan for these projects and helped them come into fruition. The North has greatly benefited from EU projects. Our European partners and businesses have also chosen to invest heavily into the UK. A vote to leave will send a wrong signal to current and future investors. There is no doubt our local economy could decline if we choose to vote leave.
There are many funds that are allocated to our local economy. The Leeds City Region has been notionally allocated an initial £338 million of funding from the European Union to support business growth in 2017 and create jobs for people in the region over the next seven to ten years. Leeds has already been a beneficiary of over 2 billion pounds from 2007 - 2012. EUROPEAN STRUCTURAL AND INVESTMENT FUNDS (ESIF) 2014 - 2020
Our European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) The European Parliament has always been quick to push for the regeneration of the UK's inner cities when often our own governments have stumbled and made false promises to whole communities about investing in the future. Continued investment in Northern England is guaranteed because we are in the EU, if we pull out there is nothing to guarantee that our government would invest in our local economies, for it left our steel industry to go into severe decline whilst our Italian and French counterparts utilized the European court of law to tackle Chinese Steel dumping to save its industries. Our government is often London and the South centric, the European Union is not. Horizon 2020 is another European Project which guarantees the North of England continues to grow with new green spaces, science, sport and business facilities being at the forefront of new builds. Recently we have had Liverpool as the capital of culture soon to be Hull. This year Manchester has been ranked the top place to do business in Europe beating the likes of Madrid, Rome, Paris & Berlin. “Due to its mass regeneration of buildings, trams and trains, investors increasingly view Manchester as a natural place to do business, and an attractive alternative to London or other European capitals. The ranking reflects the quality of our business community, but also Manchester’s growing reputation as a great city in which to live and work.” The recent report by KPMG ranked Manchester as the European Capital for Business. Competitive Alternatives 2016, a bi-annual study of the business competitiveness of over 100 cities around the world, considers many aspects of the cost of doing business, including labour, facilities, utilities, transportation and taxes.
There are so many projects to discuss in the North of England, i will just highlight a few. The Beacon project in Hull created over 400 new jobs in the bioscience, environmental technology and healthcare technology sectors and its Developer Horncastle Group secured over £3.5million of investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Manchester is set to land a share of 54 million from the European Commission to demonstrate cutting edge green technologies.
Working with the cities of Eindhoven in Holland and Stavanger in Norway in a consortium called Triangulum, the city has been provisionally awarded a share of the pot in a European Commission scheme to demonstrate ‘smart green growth’ – reducing carbon emissions while boosting the economy.
The Manchester part of the project focuses on The Corridor and is led by Manchester City Council, working alongside the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester-based businesses Siemens and digital technology company Clicks and Links.
The funding will enable investment in technologies from renewable energy and storage to improved distributed energy efficiency and intelligent energy management using ICT data. It will also support the increased use of electric vehicles.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Cities use a large proportion of the world’s resources and need to be in the forefront of environmental improvements.
“New technologies are opening up opportunities all the time and Corridor Manchester has the right conditions to show how smart city districts can help make a positive difference.
Juergen Maier, CEO for Siemens UK said "Siemens is absolutely delighted that with this funding Manchester can push ahead with this project. The Corridor has all the right assets for establishing an international smart city district, demonstrating how new technologies can drive growth whilst at the same time reducing carbon emissions. We hope to be able to help the project achieve these objectives.”
The Corridor is a unique business location at the heart of Manchester’s knowledge economy, covering some 243 hectares with a 58,000 strong workforce. It is home to two of the UK’s leading universities and the largest clinical academic campus in Europe.
The EU helps small businesses.
The EU puts aside funds for local small businesses and new entrepreneurs, funds can be applied for through the COSME programme or InnozFin Programme 2020, these loans and funds are often interest free and far easier to attain than many bank loans within the UK.
Recently over 300 economists wrote a single signed document to express that they feel that leaving the EU would be detrimental to the future and livelihoods of the young people of this country.
So where does the Eu Budget come from? And the answer is no it is not all of our own money we pay in.
The EU budget is largely financed by ‘own resources’ which are based on three kinds of sources:
- Customs duties on imports from outside the EU and sugar levies. The UK benefits from these duties.
- The value added tax (VAT) levied in the EU forms some of the budget which is distributed to help European communities.
- Gross national income (GNI): each Member State transfers a standard percentage of its GNI to the EU. This forms the largest source of income for the EU budget (74% in 2013).
During the EU campaign there has been many scare stories about many things. One of the main negatives of the campaign is that there has not been enough emphasis on the growth and business brought to our economy. The secured jobs, the investments, the future is bright in the EU. The EU has been a beacon for the North of England. It is all to easy to get mixed up with the doom and gloom of the out campaign. The slogan of 'take control' is a mis demeanors. For Boris, Gove, Grayling and Farage, they do not care about the North of England, why would they? Would any of those men secure investment for the North of England? Would they ensure the planned European projects across the North would not be halted? Will our universities be properly funded? On balance i think many readers should come to realise on the whole we are doing well in the EU, it might not be so rosy on the outside. Yorkshire and the North must be competitive on a global scale, we must attract investors and be outward looking to continue growing.
So when you walk into the polling station on Thursday, think your of future, your children's future and your grandchildren. Think of the opportunities and new jobs Europe creates for us all. Many of us can remember how stagnant our cities were in yesteryear, we don't want to go back, we must move forward, vote remain.