Ahead of the EU referendum, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott presents the Vote Remain case to Sunderland Echo readers:
What has the European Union ever done for Sunderland? Quite a lot actually.
Since 2007, this city has received more than £36million in European funding; for every £1 we put in, we get almost £10 back in jobs, trade, investment and growth. The funding we have had from the EU has been transformative.
Read the case for Vote Leave
The University of Sunderland was given £1.3million to help small and medium local firms create internships for our graduates, and the city has received millions to create apprenticeships and help people learn new skills.
Where will this support come from if we sever ties with Europe - the Tory Government? I doubt it.
Working people in Sunderland were given the right to four weeks’ paid holiday by being a member of the EU.
More than 100,000 North East jobs rely on our trade with the EU – can we really afford to lose these jobs when we have the country’s highest unemployment rate?
Nissan is the pride of Wearside and is the most productive car plant in Europe.
How many people do you know that work at this fantastic plant? It employs almost 7,000 people and many thousands more work in the supply chain.
Carlos Ghosn, Chief Executive of Nissan, said: “Our preference as a business is, of course, that the UK stays within Europe, it makes the most sense for jobs, trade and costs.”
I understand your concerns about immigration but leaving the EU will do nothing to solve these. Norway, for example, is not a member of the EU but because it trades with Europe – and we will still trade with Europe if we leave – it still contributes to the EU budget, has a much higher rate of immigration than us and is still subject to the freedom of movement.
The North East exports more to the EU than any other region of the country. We are part of something huge – the single market is the world’s largest trading bloc. It is bigger than China and America.
Sunderland gets a good deal from Europe. Our holidays are cheaper and our weekly shop is cheaper because we are members of the EU.
All economic experts agree that Brexit represents a huge risk for the economy - the World Bank, the governor of the Bank of England, the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
This is not scaremongering: a vote to Leave is a vote for job losses. Why bring about a recession when we have just recovered from the last one?
Vote Leave cannot tell you what a British exit from the EU will look like, what our trade deals will look like or what our economy will look like.
They say it means more money for our NHS. That’s not true. Trashing our economy will mean less money for the NHS and our public services.
I would urge Sunderland people to consider one other thing before they go to the polls. The European Union was created to stop wars and it has been the world’s most successful peace process.
Do we really want to turn our back on that?
Voting to Remain is the right choice for the North East. It means more jobs, lower prices, stronger public services and a decent, tolerant Great Britain. If we vote to leave, there is no going back.
Don’t risk it.