Major UK cities ‘fight to stay in EU’

Manchester 'will lead campaign to keep UK in the EU'

Ten major UK cities outside of London including Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Cardiff will join forces and fight to keep the UK in the EU, according to a report in the Manchester Evening News.

Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese has agreed with his counterparts in Leeds, Sheffield, Cardiff, Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle “that remaining in the union is in their best interests,” according to the Manchester newspaper.

An economic analysis of the implications for Manchester of leaving the EU concluded that it would damage the city’s economy.

The analysis, by council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, listed a number of ways Manchester benefits from being in the EU, including skilled labour, major regeneration funding and foreign investment, the Manchester Evening News said.

The analysis said Manchester airport’s links with other major cities currently gives the Manchester area a “significant advantage as a gateway to the EU.”

It added: “Although a benefit at present, this suggests that the implications of a withdrawal could be greater for Manchester than for much of the remainder of the country.”

Leaving the EU would likely hit direct foreign investment in the Manchester area, the report said.

Brexit could also marginalise the UK’s position as an international conference and tourist destination — hitting Manchester hard due to its booming conference industry.

The report noted that more than 9,000 new EU workers registered in Manchester last year, most of them Italian or Spanish.

It concluded these new EU workers are “beneficial to the city.”

“Many EU migrants offer job-specific or language skills which are highly sought after by employers,” the report said.

“At a time of recognised skills shortages in the city and nationally, having access to a substantial mobile labour force is a distinct advantage.”

“We need to stay in Europe,” said Leese.

“Most importantly, the big issues that affect Cologne, Paris or Madrid are often the big issues affecting Nottingham, Bristol or Birmingham …

“That’s why, over the coming months, the core cities will be carrying out detailed research into how Europe has benefited them so we can present detailed case studies and statistics …”