Former prime minister Gordon Brown will today team with the leaders of 10 of the UK's largest cities to warn that a Brexit vote would turn the North into a “wasteland” under the Conservatives.
Council leaders from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield say that high tariffs on goods exports, a fall in foreign direct investment and an end to EU structural funding would all hit the North hardest.
In his second intervention inside a week, Brown will compare the consequences to a Conservative approach which “turned industrial heartlands into industrial wastelands”.
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"European money is necessary for renovation, renewal and regeneration - and right across the North, Scotland and Wales it is still vitally needed now,” Brown will say.
“All my political life I have fought for jobs and a vision of full employment for our country. “To achieve this, we need to send our exports to where we sell most – the European Union. ”
At the same time, a letter from the Council leaders, who are all Labour members, will say: “If we vote for Brexit, it will be those at the sharp end – working people, not the leaders of the leave campaign, who will pay the price. “For those that believe the EU can work better for Britain, we agree, but people must choose reform not retreat. ”
The leaders also note new research will show the North would be hardest hit by tariffs because of a disproportionate economic reliance on goods exports to the EU, with £2.1bn in structural funds allocated to Northern regional projects up to 2020.