It seems that Edward Thomas [Letter, March 4] and many others in favour of leaving the EU should pause and reflect on some of the policies from which we have benefited (with apologies to that great ‘What did the Romans ever do for us ... ?’ sketch).
More than 50 per cent of our trade is with the EU, we receive structural funding for areas of industrial decline, eg Hastings, and we benefit from EU funded research and industrial collaboration. We have smoke-free workplaces, lead-free petrol, cleaner beaches and rivers (the Blue Flag standard), wildlife protection and restrictions on landfill dumping thanks to the EU. There is consumer protection through food labelling, bans on growth hormones in food and on the use of organo-phosphates in orchards and on livestock. We have better labour protection with equal pay legislation, holiday entitlement, a 48-hour working week maximum, without overtime.
Although far from perfect, we do also benefit from the European arrest warrant, cross-border policing and the sharing of counter-terrorism intelligence. The importance of 70 years of peace between Members after centuries of conflict surely cannot be denied and many former dictatorships are now EU members (13?).
There are many other benefits which I hope will also receive public airing in the coming weeks. We need more actual information and less scaremongering.
Yes, there are problems and a great deal of work to be done – there is corruption and wastage but these can only be properly resolved and cleared up from the inside. Who ever listens to outsiders?
Wilbees Farmhouse, Arlington
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