Gordon Brown: Staying in EU will create half a million jobs

Staying in the European Union (EU) could see half a million new jobs created across the UK in the next decade, including 50,000 in Scotland, former prime minister Gordon Brown is set to argue.

Former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images
Former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images

With just over 36 hours to go until polls open in Thursday’s referendum, the ex-Labour leader is making a last-minute plea to undecided voters.

While Conservative Remain campaigners have been speaking to better-off voters “warning them how a Brexit would make them insecure”, Mr Brown will pitch his speech at the “anxious millions” of less well-off Britons who are worried about their future and their children’s future.

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As well as creating new jobs, he will argue a vote to Remain will allow the UK to “reap the benefit” of the European Union’s 351 billion euro (£269 billion) infrastructure fund, which could help projects aimed at regenerating the UK’s industrial heartlands.

Mr Brown is credited with helping to secure Scotland’s future in the UK after making an 11th-hour intervention ahead of the independence referendum in 2014.

With voters once again considering the UK’s future in a “generation-defining decision”, the former prime minister is to make a major speech at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.

Mr Brown will say: “Over the next few critical hours I am appealing to the undecided who have yet to make up their mind on how to vote, the don’t-knows who may be thinking they will not vote at all, and the doubters who are veering towards voting for Brexit but who may still be persuaded.

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“This is not just about Scotland in Europe or even Britain in Europe - this is a momentous generation-defining decision about what kind of country we are and what future we offer our children.”

He will add: “Tory leaders have been speaking mainly to the economically-secure and warning them how a Brexit would make them insecure.

“I am speaking directly to the economically-insecure or the ‘anxious millions’ - the millions of mothers and fathers worried about their children’s future, the millions of workers worried about their own future and the millions of young people worried about their country’s future - and will explain how remaining part of the EU can enhance their security and deliver opportunity in the years to come.

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“My message is that if we want to create more jobs, better-paid jobs, and higher quality jobs, there is no road to the future that does not go through Europe.”

Mr Brown will say that “evidence shows that up to 500,000 jobs in Britain will be created by the expansion of the single market as it becomes the biggest job creator of the next decade”.

He will also argue EU membership has been vital for workers’ rights, saying benefits such as holiday pay and maternity pay “were not achieved by the benevolence of the Conservative government or by well-meaning businesses, but through the collective efforts of the member states of the European Union”.

The former Labour leader will say his message “from the heart” to Scottish voters is: “If you want jobs to remain, vote Remain. If you want workers’ rights to remain, vote Remain. If you want European investment to remain, vote Remain.”