Vote remain to safeguard Province’s future: Dickson

Stewart Dickson
Stewart Dickson

MLA Stewart Dickson is urging locals to vote remain to “safeguard Northern Ireland’s future” in the EU referendum.

The East Antrim representative cited the economic benefits which be believes staying in the EU afford to Northern Ireland.

“According to the Treasury and Confederation of British Industry (CBI), for every £1 we put into the EU, we get £10 back in trade, investment, jobs, growth and low prices, which we cannot afford to lose,” stated Mr Dickson

“The UK gets £66 million of investment from EU countries every single day in various areas including agriculture, we received over £250 million in single farm payments and £45 million in Rural Development funds in the past year alone. We also risk a significant loss to the Northern Irish economy if we vote to leave the EU.”

Mr Dickson said a CBI analysis had suggested a Brexit could cost the UK one million jobs and an economic loss as high as £100 billion or five per cent of GDP by 2020.

“The EU has provided crucial support for the Peace Process,” he continued.

“In the last six years, the PEACE III programme has seen £150 million spent on projects to develop a shared future in Northern Ireland. My colleagues and I will work to ensure that projects demonstrate value for money and that funding is fairly spread between larger and smaller groups. I will also monitor how the funds are spent; ensuring that money is focused on building a shared future, especially reconciliation programmes, developing shared spaces and promoting integrated education.

Mr Dickson said that he believed workers’ rights including paid annual leave, the 48 hour week, protection for pregnant women and new mothers, equal pay, and health and safety would be “put in danger” in the event of a Brexit.

While acknowleding that there were “some problems with the EU”, Mr Dickson said it was better to address these “from inside the EU, rather than risk losing the benefits which the EU brings”.