I was fascinated to watch the live debate by WSCC at County Hall mentioned in your 14/4 edition, following a proposal by UKIP that West Sussex would be better off outside the EU.
As a UKIP sceptic, I listened to the convoluted, irrational and unsubstantiated arguments put forward by the new UKIP leader to try to support her case.
Fortunately each of her points was challenged by both Conservative and then particularly effectively by the Liberal Democrats, James Walsh and Horsham’s Morwen Millson, who proceeded to forensically destroy the UKIP case.
The UKIP motion was unanimously defeated by the Council.
I was however rather disappointed that in a briefing to Councillors before the debate, the acting CEO of WSCC had concluded, as reported by you, that “No information is available on the impact of EU membership on county council service demand or procurement arrangements”!
What a pity he had not done some more research for his members.
He could have mentioned the following:
The positive impact on West Sussex and County Finances of Gatwick as the County’s largest business and employer. That the UK’s largest airline EasyJet, has its main base at Gatwick, employing thousands of West Sussex residents. EasyJet’s existence is entirely attributable to EU Deregulation of inter EU air services, resulting in substantially reduced fares to travellers, more services to more destinations with more innovative products. If UK withdraws from the EU, that could all be lost. As one who worked for 40 years in the Air Transport Industry I know what the bureaucracy and restrictions were like before air service deregulation introduced by the EU. Most Air Services operated from the UK to points outside the EU are still subject to significant economic regulation and service restriction, limiting services and increasing fares.
That firms like Rolls Royce, backed by German investors have set up in Sussex because of our UK EU membership. The same is true of Airbus and others, many of whose employees live in West Sussex.
He might also have mentioned how many EU citizens work in West Sussex Care Homes and provide other such vital support services to our communities, doing jobs that some West Sussex residents cannot or do not wish to do.
Or finally what UK leaving the EU would do to the status and eligibility for free Health Care in Europe for many thousands of West Sussex current / former residents who have retired and live either permanently or partly in Europe. How would West Sussex cope with an influx of repatriated retirees seeking social care and support from the county council whilst potentially losing the invaluable services of many EU migrants?
Staying in the EU is by far the best and most certain course of action for West Sussex and the UK to ensure future peace, security, prosperity, social cohesion and opportunity for our children and grandchildren.
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