What on Earth has UKIP’s anti-Europe policies got to do with the local council?
This was a comment I saw on a chat room post last week and it occurred to me that if the writer of the post was asking that sort of question then many other people must be thinking it too. So I thought I’d try and outline just a few of the ways EU regulation impacts people at a local level and why voting UKIP is the solution.
As you know, the terms of our membership of the EU have moved on significantly from the days of the EEC and a simple trade-based set of agreements. Today, EU legislation and directives encroach on every aspect of our lives, more than 70% of our laws are now in some way under the control of Brussels and the EU Parliament. This control doesn’t stop at national level law, EU regulation directly impacts local government decisions too.
- EU procurement rules dictate that public bodies must publish tenders for supplies and services across the EU. This adds massive cost to the procurement process for Councils, Housing Associations, Schools etc. with translation fees, interpreting costs, management of the number of applications received and their evaluation.
- The Local Government Association has said that EU procurement rules make the process of procurement more costly and burdensome. That it pushes the balance of power towards the supplier not the purchaser and hampers the achievement of best value.
- National Housing Federation estimates the cost to housing associations is more than £30m pa.
- Partnership For Schools says that the rules are overly complex and bureaucratic and lead to haemorrhaging money.
- EU rules on bus journeys have had a major impact on the cost effectiveness of some routes.
- New regulation on drivers’ hours of work mean tachographs have to be fitted for routes more than 31 miles, leading to some services to rural areas being cut.
- Tougher limits on driver hours restrict the times and days they can work.
- New super lorries (currently in use in a limited number of countries) are being considered for use Europe-wide. These new lorries will be 30% longer and 50% heavier than the current UK maximum.
- Local councils (and ultimately you and I) will have to pay the cost of repairs as these monsters destroy our roads and bridges.
- Even if every one of our MEPs tried to vote against such a proposal, with only 73 votes out of 766 in the European Parliament we’d have no chance of stopping it.
- Housing has reached crisis point in many areas of the country due to acute demand combined with the lack of available new properties.
- Increased immigration as a result of the EU’s open door policy contributes greatly to this crisis with a similar squeeze on availability of services in schools, doctors, dentists and hospitals.
- The problem is further exacerbated as our population ages, and property developers appear reticent to release more land for building.
Note here that UKIP recognises the significant value and importance of skilled immigrants coming into the UK to fulfil roles that can’t be met by the people already here – for example in Engineering, IT and the health service. It is the large influx of semi-skilled and unskilled workers coming into the UK from Europe to seek work that put an unnecessary strain on services.
- Health and Safety regulation has grown massively as a result of EU directives.
- Many councils are now seeing 300% increases in costs for contractors working at height as they seek to comply with regulations. Costs that ultimately put up our Council Tax.
- EU Landfill directives have completely changed how waste is handled.
- Councils are fined per tonne sent to landfill, leading to increased costs and hence increased council tax bills.
- Refuse collections happen less frequently and the bins provided are smaller, leading to increases in fly-tipping and dumping of articles at recycling centres or on the side of the road.
Note that UKIP recognises the importance of incentives for waste minimisation, reuse and recycling, but believe draconian fines and constricting legislation that end up costing every council tax payer is not the answer.
These are just some of the aspects of our everyday lives that will be made considerably better by leaving the EU. Only UKIP is committed to that aim, so a vote for UKIP at European, National or Local elections is the only option.
Oh, and UKIP Councillors nationally have the best attendance record at Council meetings too!