Scientists for Labour

Seema Malhotra MP speaks up for the EU

On 18th April, Labour IN for Britain held an event at entrepreneur hub, The Landing at Media City in Salford. Seema Malhotra, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, gave the following speech in which she stressed why we need to stay in the European Union and why it is vital in order to safeguard the future of our economy and prospects for young people through science and technology advance. This was reinforced through an introductory speech made by Tom Jennings, a local young entrepreneur. You can read Tom's speech here

Seema Malhotra MP, Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary of the Treasury, speech to the Landing, Media City, 18 April 2016

Friends, we are at an important moment in the Referendum campaign. The official campaign began on Friday. In less than 10 weeks, we will know the result.

Just a few days, to determine our country's future for decades ahead, in a world of dizzying, relentless change.

The referendum takes place against a background of a social, economic and technological revolution:
The rise of India and China, and the emerging economies of Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brazil and the others, are set to overturn Europe's traditional dominance.

Africa is on the rise. Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia - all had growth rates of over 5 per cent in the last year.

China is investing more in African roads, airports, ports and cities than the World Bank.

The world of tomorrow will be shaped by these new economies, with their new manufacturing, new service sectors, new universities and new cities.

Now here's an interesting fact.

Of the 3.5 trillion photographs taken since 1838, ten per cent were taken last year on digital cameras and phones.

We are on the foothills of a technological revolution which will give us drones to deliver our shopping, 3D printing, automation in every stage of production and distribution. Four US states have issued licenses for driverless cars.

On the other side, there are the wars in the Syria and elsewhere and the heart-breaking migrant crisis.

A maelstrom of change is buffeting our society and our economy, as we confront and cope with the realities of globalisation.
Our membership of the European Union makes us stronger in the face of these challenges.
They won't go away if we leave the European Union - but we will have fewer allies as we seek to confront these challenges.
Now in the early days of the campaign, the media were obsessed by the soap opera at the top of the Tory Party.

But this campaign is not about the Tory Party.

It's about the people of Britain.

And what Labour voters do will be decisive.

Labour is pro-Europe. We are also the party of reform in Europe.

Last week Jeremy Corbyn made the unequivocal case for staying in "warts and all" - and for reforming Europe from the inside.

Today I want to build on that message, to mobilise and motivate our people with a campaign based on opportunity, hope and fairness.

Let me tell you about a conversation I had on a doorstep in Feltham, in my constituency in west London.

I spoke to a man in his forties who was conflicted - between on the one hand listening to his parents, who are retired, and on the other hand worrying about what the future holds for his teenage children.
His parents, he said, were planning to vote to Leave.

They were fed up with the European Union. They see it bringing problems not solutions.

He respected their views.

But then he asked himself - what would it mean for his children if Britain did go it alone?

He thought of the instability.

He thought about his kids' chances and opportunities.

And he decided it was vital to get his parents to think again about what their vote might mean for their grandchildren.

He is not alone. This same conversation is going on in families up and down the country, as people grapple with the enormity of the choice we face, and the future we will shape.

There was an article recently in First News - the children's newspaper - that showed how it's the kids telling the parents what the European Union does and what it means for the future of our country.
There is a generational divide.

Today's young people themselves are convinced that their futures lie in Europe. They look outwards with confidence.

So, what we want to do is to prompt and encourage a conversation between the generations.

And I think we can draw inspiration from last year's Irish referendum campaign on equal marriage where such a conversation did take place - with the great, progressive result to legalise equal marriage.

Young people persuaded parents and grandparents not to vote for an outcome they saw as damaging to Ireland and reputation of the country.

Why are young people so positive about the European Union?

They have different priorities to older generations. They have had a different life experience.

Through TV that brings every corner of the globe into our living rooms, the rise of the internet and social media, diversity in our schools, online gaming with thousands across the world - there's an interconnectedness that young people today are growing up with as the norm.
They cherish the freedom simply to travel, to learn, to experience all that Europe has to offer.

When young people think about migration, they can see it in terms of the opportunity it brings for them also.

There are almost as many Britons living in mainland Europe as there are people from other European countries living here.

Yes, we recognise that immigration needs fair rules and proper controls, but we also see its benefits to our economy.

Being part of the European Union has achieved much for us on the environmental front - air pollution and food production and labelling standards being just two examples.

Young people also recognise the benefits for fulfilling their personal ambitions - particularly getting good jobs with guaranteed rights at work and good working conditions.

There's a three-to-one majority amongst under 30s in favour of staying in, according to a recent Yougov poll.
Meanwhile, among the over-60 the leavers outnumber the stayers - 63 per cent to 37 per cent in favour of Brexit.

But turnout is the crucial factor.

The hopes of the Leave campaign are pinned on the support of older voters - and on a low turnout. Not only do older people favour Leave, but experience tells us they are also more likely to vote.

There is a double challenge for us:

• Firstly, to encourage a high turnout of Labour supporters of all ages AND secondly - to get those thinking of voting to leave to think again.
• In particular, we want older people to think about what walking away would mean for their children and their grandchildren.
So my appeal to older people is - "Listen to the young people of Britain. Take note of what they think is best for their future."

It's what we call the promise for the next Generation.

That each generation wants the next to have a better future than they did.

If we leave, that aspiration withers and dies.

For us in the Labour movement - the big question underlying the choice between Remain and Leave:

How do we ensure a prosperous and secure future for all our people - but especially for the young. They will live the longest with the consequences of our decision and be affected the most.

To listen to the voices and tackle the concerns of today's young people, we must do four things:

First, we must understand, as most young people do, how our world is changing. And we must address the weaknesses in Britain's economy in order to prosper in this new world.

Second, we must ensure the maximum number of jobs, and best possible career prospects for young people - prospects that would be fatally undermined by Brexit.

Third, we must seize the opportunities that Europe wide co-operation can provide, for example in technology, science and space exploration.

And fourth, we must nail the ridiculous idea that the NHS will benefit from Brexit - a lie that becomes clear the moment we look at the record of Boris Johnson and other prominent Leave campaigners.

So first, the weaknesses in the Britain economy - they are very clear.

Forecasts for UK growth, business investment, productivity and average wage growth have all been revised down.

Leaving the European Union would make that dramatically worse.

And then there are jobs:

Remaining in Europe should be about more jobs, better jobs and fairness in the workplace.

Almost 50 per cent of our exports are to the European Union. Of the rest, 30 per cent are covered by agreements negotiated by the European Union.

When I have travelled abroad or met British businesses here, I have asked what makes Britain attractive - why would you choose to invest in Britain.

Companies tell me over and over again they choose to invest in Britain because of our language, our inclusive culture, our incredible heritage, our world class education system - but a key compelling factor is also because it provides great access to European markets, and through that to the rest of the world.

This ‘pull factor' disappears overnight if we walk away from the European Union.

Just last week, the IMF warned that the "referendum has already created uncertainty for investors; and Britain leaving Europe could do severe regional and global damage." A paper to be published by the Treasury today suggests households would, on average, be worse off by around £4,300 a year - permanently - resulting also in a massive hit to our public finances.

We are all part of a market of 500 million customers - and as well as opportunities to sell British goods and services, we benefit from lower cost products from other European nations.

The European Single market has been hugely important in making Britain much more prosperous than we would otherwise have been.

And as we look to the future, we see the benefit that Europe wide co-operation can provide, for example in technology and science.

We are part of plans to create a Digital Single Market in Europe. It will be an area of huge opportunity for Britain's Tech Industry.

The Digital Single Market could contribute more than €400 billion per year to the European economy and create the best part of four million jobs.

Many of these will be in the UK's thriving tech industry.

As well as listening to young people, I say let's listen to the scientists.

Scientists are modern heroes. I want to mention a couple of them - Tim Peake and Stephen Hawking.

Tim Peake, up in space, but talking to us as if he's in his living room, has captured people's imaginations.

He's there because of the work of The European Union and the European Space Agency, which are separate bodies but are increasingly working together. Some 20 per cent of Space Agency funds come from the European Union.

Now ask yourself this question would Britain, on its own, be able to put Tim Peake in space?

And I'll answer my own question.

There is no way, a country with the Britain's resources, acting alone, could afford to put men and women into space to push the boundaries of discovery.

What's true of space is true of the whole of science and engineering.

Which is why Stephen Hawking joined with more than 150 fellows of the Royal Society in a letter warning that quitting the European Union would be a "disaster for UK science".

They argue that Britain's membership brings increased funding and huge benefits from collaboration between British and continental scientists.

The European Union accounts for more than a third of world scientific output - outstripping the mighty United States - and that gap is growing.

The Russell Group states that the £58bn our top universities receive in research funding is more than the whole of Germany.

Collaboration between scientists across the European Union produces advances that might not happen if these brilliant minds are separated by national boundaries. By bringing together a critical mass of intellectual talent the European Union creates the conditions for scientific discovery to flourish.

Scientists say that pulling out of the European Union would cause immediate and potentially irrevocable disruption to critical UK research.

The longer term loss is potentially even more severe.

Leaving would diminish our ability to benefit from future technological advances in medicines, bio-informatics, green energy and space applications. Laser surgical knifes, European satellite programme and quantum computing are compelling examples of European Tech collaboration.

We could lose our scientists if they see better opportunities abroad.

Now it's not just the original research that is important but how it feeds through to new commercial opportunities and jobs.

What we might call the innovation pipeline.

That's why European venture capital and information initiatives have been vital in supplying more finance to start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs. As we heard from Tom Jennings, it makes a big difference to people like him.

At this point it's worth saying a word about the European Investment bank - a European Union institution in which Britain holds a sixth of the shares.

It's the world's largest international public bank.

It's owned directly by the member states.

And it is a tremendous force for good.

By walking away from the Union we would lose access to the huge level of funds it provides -- to businesses, universities, schools and local authorities in Britain - at preferential rates.

That's right, the European Investment Bank is lending money to organisations at a cheaper rate than the UK Government can.

This is because they have Triple A+ credit rating, whilst the British government has been downgraded to AA+.

Last year alone the UK received £5.6 billion from the EIB to help to regenerate communities and invest in infrastructure up and down the country.

Just last week the EIB announced that they were providing £500 million to United Utilities to fund vital water and wastewater projects across the North West, and to support graduate and apprenticeship schemes.

And in South Wales, the EIB provided £60 million to help fund the development and building of an entire new campus for Swansea University, with word-class engineering research facilities.

This will act as a catalyst for what is expected to be the largest knowledge economy project in the UK and one of the top five in Europe.

Why would we put at risk our access to this level of low-cost, long-term funding? It is of huge benefit to British businesses, universities, schools and local authorities. Those who argue we should walk away from the European Union can't tell us how they would replace this vital investment income. They ask us to believe it will be "alright on the night"!

This is where my two themes Listen to the Young and Listen to the Scientists come together.
Britain's excellence in the knowledge and digital economy is underpinned by our membership of the European Union.

Hundreds of thousands of young people are already employed in digital industries including creative industries.

Now I want to ask you a question which might produce a bit of a generational divide. Who produced Grand Theft Auto V, which in 2013 achieved the fastest $1bn gross sales of any product in global entertainment history.

It was the Scottish developer Rockstar North.

I use this example to illustrate a point.

The UK has the highest number of mobile games developers in the European Union.

95 per cent of UK games companies sell products outside the UK. The value of our Creative Industries exports exceeds £18bn. More than half of it goes to the European Union.

Britain plays a leading role in developing the market for creative industries and in getting the rules right.

And we now see the advances in creative industries being applied to medical and education technology, like drug and alcohol rehabilitation through use of virtual reality.

And just imagine you are a new entrepreneur like Tom. Where would you prefer your creative enterprise to be based - somewhere with a single set of rules for 28 nations - or in a country that had to contend with 27 separate bi-lateral agreements.

But the change doesn't stop there.

New technologies are increasingly important for our traditional manufacturing industries too. Like steel or the automotive sector.

Perhaps I should nail the myth about steel industry and the European Union.

The British Government failed to take action in Europe against the dumping of Chinese steel when other European countries were pushing for it. Tory Ministers stood by as the steel crisis loomed and then sought to blame Europe.

And the bigger picture?
The CBI puts the overall economic cost of leaving at £100 billion with nearly a million lost jobs by 2020. Other analysts say the drop in GDP will cost us more than we might save in contributions to the European Union budget. And the 5-10 years "short term" uncertainty economists talk about could be an underestimate.

And whether or not businesses up-sticks straightaway, close their factories, pack up their machines and ship them abroad, the key danger lies in the future investment decisions by those firms.
But it's not just about jobs and investment, it's about rights for workers.

We need to tell the Leave campaigners - there's a baby in that bath water you want to throw out.

European Union agreements protect fairness and dignity in the workplace.

They have ensured a level playing field - stopping bad employers undercutting good ones - ensured maternity leave, paid holidays, fair treatment for part time and agency workers and other anti-discrimination rules. The current EU review of competition and employment will help protect and extend rights for workers' in the future and ensure their employers pay tax.
Do we really want to trust your luck with Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage or Michael Gove on this issue?

And do we trust them on the NHS?

Boris Johnson came to Manchester and made the extraordinary claim that the NHS would be better off if we were outside European Union.

This is the man who in 2003 said people would value the NHS more if they had to directly pay for it. Other leading Leave campaigners also have form on the NHS. Michael Gove (co-convener Vote Leave) - in 2009 called for the dismantling of the NHS. So too did Tory MEP Daniel Hannan (campaign committee member Vote Leave) - who described the NHS as a "relic". UKIP MP Douglas Carswell (campaign committee member Vote Leave) has called for "denationalising" and privatisation of our healthcare.

The idea that Boris and his gang are defenders of the NHS should be treated with the contempt it deserves. It's the Tories who are to blame for the state of the NHS not Brussels.

So in conclusion.

Our world is changing fast. The challenges go beyond one nation's borders - whether it be the migrant crisis, tax avoidance or climate change.

Our membership of the European Union gives us stability in this ever changing world.
The European Union is also about peace - and about how peace can be embedded through international cooperation. The continent saw two world wars in the first half of the 20th Century. We have now had seven decades of peace.
Britain is undoubtedly more influential and safer inside the European Union.
Yes, the challenges are profound and immediate.
Our response must be to offer real hope and confidence in a better future.
Our goal for Britain is shared prosperity for all our people - young and old - prosperity that could be undermined by leaving Europe.
So this is Labour's opportunity.
We say the answer to the great challenges is more cooperation and solidarity -- not less.
What would we be saying about Britain? And what would it do for the reputation of a nation which has done so much to shape attitudes, culture and institutions across the world, if we were to walk away from our closest neighbours.
It goes against all we have stood for as an open and progressive nation.
Young people are telling us they want to remain.

For them, and future generations, we should heed their call.

Thank you.

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