Dear Syd
I am what Alastair P. G. Welsh calls a reasonable “Remainer” when it comes to the European referendum. (Newton News 11.3.16). This is NOT based on the views of big business, the Labour Party or Trade Unions but on common sense as I am a true Northerner.
Little is said about the North Easts contribution to the E.U.  As a region we get far more back from the E.U. than we actually pay in.  If you doubt this, ask our local MEP.  Can you honestly think that the Government would give our area the same level of support from the funds they save by not being an E.U. member?  I think NOT.
We are the poor relations in this country.  Compared to the Southern counties we get far less Local Government Grant Settlement therefore, we have councils cutting back far more on public services and, in the case of Darlington selling off the jewels in the council’s crown – the indoor market and the central public library.  It was reported (the Northern Echo 12.3.16) that the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting (Cipfa) that inner London has the lowest average Band D Council Tax rise in 2016/17 at £4.96 while the North East has the highest at £59.62!  No wonder, they get far more Local Government Grant Settlement.
Our Northern universities get millions of pounds in funding for research and development from the E.U. and this in turn has had job providing spin offs for our area.  When our Government has students paying up to £9,000.00 tuition fees because they don’t sufficiently fund the universities can you see them ploughing in similar sums for research and development in Northern universities?  I think NOT.
The Farming Subsidy which is paid by the E.U. to farmers via our Government is critical to many Northern hill farmers for example and even then many incomes do not equate to the minimum wage.  The Government would like to scrap this payment because farmers in the Tory Shire counties do not, in the main, need it.  It is regularly reported that our farmers are receiving very late payment from the Government which is causing acute hardship and health problems.  These farmers are critical to our rural areas, their sheep keep the beautiful landscape in the Dales for example in a state that other counties and many tourists envy.  If these farmers go out of business our hills and dales would not be grazed, the whole landscape would gradually change.  This would most probably have a knock on effect on tourism and small businesses that rely on visitors.  Would our Government outside the E.U. scrap these essential payments? Most probably.
The above are just examples of how our area would lose out.  I won’t go into speculation about import duties being placed on our exported goods to Europe as this is well documented only to question whether or not our workers would be better off, as Mr Welsh seems to think will happen, if their employers are paying higher taxes to export their goods.
Please don’t be apathetic and don’t just take note of the Boris Johnsons in this debate, make yourself aware of all the facts.  Read up on the E.U. issues, look at both sides of the argument and take account of how coming out would affect our area and the North of England as a whole.
We do not live in a wealthy Shire county and like Norway and Switzerland if we vote to come out we will still have to pay into the E.U. coffers but without any return.
Andrea Bergg, Lascelles Ave