Preston Council leader signs letter warning against leaving Europe

Peter Rankin

Peter Rankin

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Preston Council leader Peter Rankin is among 12 North West town hall chiefs who have signed a letter warning against leaving Europe.

They fear the economic effect of a ‘Brexit’ could “mean catastrophe for our councils’ ability to deliver the services people rely on.”

The letter is part of the Labour party’s Labour In for Britain campaign to persuade people to vote to remain in the EU at the June 23 referendum.

It has been signed by 64 Labour council leaders from across the country who collectively deliver services to more than 12 million people.

Coun Rankin said: “The risks are considerable, particularly to jobs in the Preston area, when you think of BAE and associated firms.”

He said Preston had gained from European funding, including the first phase of the Fishergate scheme.

He said: “Speaking as a Labour politician, what’s important to me is the protection UK workers have had through the EU working time directive, and indeed all the other protections in terms of health and safety.”

Others who have signed the letter, which has been sent to The Times newspaper, include Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn. It says: “The disastrous economic effects of Brexit could mean catastrophe for our councils’ ability to deliver the services people rely on, and if we leave Europe, it is our communities that will be hardest hit.”

But supporters of leaving the EU say it imposes too many rules on business and charges billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return. They also want Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming here to work.