Today, the Prime Minister confirmed that a referendum on our membership of the European Union will take place on 23 June. Julie responded to the announcement:
“I passionately believe that Sunderland, the North East and the UK as a whole is better off inside the EU. Our continued membership makes us stronger, safer and better off.
“The EU is crucial for jobs, in our region and across the country. Up to 160,000 jobs in the North East rely on trade with the EU. Nationally, that figure is over three million.
“The EU is vital for investment. The North East is a net recipient of EU funds, having received billions of pounds in investment over the decades from the EU to fund projects such as the Vaux site development in Sunderland.
“Over the next five years we will get £724m in EU funds - the EU is outstanding value for money. Opponents will often say that the costs of our membership is £340 per household but what they don’t say is that the benefits of the EU are worth £3,000 a year to every household, due to lower prices, trade and investment. That’s a return of almost 10 to 1 on our investment.
“Britain is safer as part of the EU. We influence key decisions and work with our European partners to ensure a coordinated response to international threats like terrorism, organised crime and climate change. British workers are better off in the EU, which protects rights such as paid leave, maternity holidays and rights for agency workers.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Sunderland is better off in the EU.”