Why a ‘hard’ Brexit is particularly bad for Yorkshire

Despite what many Leave campaigners promised during the referendum campaign, Theresa May wants to take Britain out of not just the EU, but also the single European market, the customs union and the various European technical agencies where we cooperate on, for instance, the safety of chemicals, medicines and aircraft.

This approach is particularly dangerous for Yorkshire.

We are an industrial region, and the last thing our manufacturers need is a set of obstacles hindering products being sold to Britain’s main export market.

We are also an agricultural region, and the last thing our farmers need is to find themselves outside Europe’s agricultural market to which we export so successfully and from which much of their income comes.

We are a centre for financial services, and the last thing our insurance companies and banks need is to lose the right to “passport” their services across Europe.

We have several universities, and the last thing they need is to lose European research funding.  

Our coast is home to a fishing industry which exports most of its catch – partly through our fish processing sector, one of Europe’s largest, and which seems to have been forgotten in the government’s list of priorities.

We are a vital link in transport infrastructure, with the Humber estuary our export highway to the continent and our airports taking millions of passengers a year, all facilitated by Europe-wide rules we have made jointly with our partners which simplify and speed up travel, but on which we now risk not having any say.

Our hospitals rely on doctors and nurses who have come from other European countries and whose status the government has refused to guarantee.

We are an energy hub, with both one of Europe’s largest wind farms and largest biomass plants, facilitated by investment from elsewhere in Europe.

All these are vulnerable to significant threats endangering our region’s economic well being and risking the loss of thousands of jobs in Yorkshire and Humber. Solutions could be found, but not through the hard Brexit approach chosen by Theresa May.

She knows Brexit will be painful – which is why she wants the general election now, before the problems become visible, before the costs are totted up, before people begin to complain in larger numbers.    

She wants a blank cheque to do as she pleases without fear of parliamentary opposition.

Let’s not give it to her!

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