Carwyn Jones: Progress in Wales would be reversed by a Leave vote tomorrow

Welsh first minister writes of 'negative economic impact' of leaving EU


This month, we learned that our improving employment rate in Wales is now outstripping the rest of the UK. Wales is ahead of Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, with the fastest growth rate of employment and the sharpest rate of decline in unemployment.

Things are still tough for many, and we need to tackle low wages – but for the first time ever, Wales has bounced back faster from a recession than the rest of the UK.

Make no mistake: this progress would be halted and put into immediate reverse by a Leave vote tomorrow.

So many of our skills programmes, infrastructure schemes and job creation initiatives depend on EU money, and so many of our businesses depend on the single market.

There is simply no doubt about the negative economic impact of a leave vote.

That is what is at stake for Wales – job creation, the pounds in people’s pockets. Absolute fundamentals to daily life.

That is why I am leaving no stone unturned in campaigning for a Remain vote and it is why, as well as campaigning hard alongside Labour colleagues, I’ve also shared a platform with the prime minister at an event in Cardiff and with the Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood.

As I have said before when talking about the steel crisis, at times of economic peril for our communities, people expect politicians to leave the tribal baggage at the door and work together for the good of the country.

And this referendum really does introduce a sense of economic peril, as every single independent economic forecaster has said.

And what have we got on the other side? This is an ideological joy-ride for city boys like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, more than happy to leave economic devastation in their wake.

These are not people with Wales’ best interests at heart. They are not, quite frankly, people with the interests of most English people at heart.

Wales has for the first time in 58 years qualified for a football finals tournament, and we’re doing rather well as it happens. Believe me when I say it is better to be in – and having a say over proceedings – rather than watching at home and shouting at the TV.

That’s the fate that will befall us if we vote to Leave, having no say, being locked out, making a conscious decision not to influence what’s going on.

That’s not the kind of country I think we are, deep down.

It wasn’t so long ago that we were proud to be the global influencers, the diplomats, the peace-brokers and negotiators.

Let’s embrace that heritage once again; let’s not walk away. Let’s stay in, and get stuck in to changing Europe for the better.

Carwyn Jones is the First Minister of Wales and an Assembly Member for the Labour Party. 

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.