LONDON – England – Responding to a pro-EU TUC report, Gisela Stuart MP, Chair of the Vote Leave, has revealed how the EU has been detrimental to workers and women’s rights.
“The UK has led the way in promoting and protecting workers rights, and it’s deeply misleading to suggest that leaving the EU would put them at risk.
“The best way to ensure that workers rights are to protected is to have a parliament that is directly accountable to the people; in other words, to put power back in people’s hands. The EU prevents that, and means that unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats can impose rules and regulations that the British people have no say over.
“On 23 June we have the opportunity to take back control of our country and our democracy, as well as the £350 million we send to Brussels every week, by voting to leave the EU.”
Protection of Women’s Rights is not contingent on EU membership
Before we joined the EU:
In 1961 the contraceptive pill was made free and ‘available to all’ on the NHS, giving women more control.
Parliament passed the Abortion Act 1967, providing women greater autonomy.
Parliament passed the Divorce Reform Act 1969, allowing spouses an easier escape from unhappy.
Parliament passed the first Equal Pay Act 1970, demanding ‘equal pay for equal work’.
We have also since passed, without assistance from the EU:
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, guarding against sexual harassment in the workplace.
The Employment Protection Act 1975, supporting mothers with paid maternity leave.
The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, seeking justice for and providing assistance to the victims of domestic violence.
Membership of the EU actually undermines Women’s Rights and their interests
Car insurance: Decisions by European Courts have increased the cost of life and car insurance for women. The ECJ has held that its Charter of Fundamental Rights prevented insurance companies from charging women lower premiums.
Impact on family finances: The independent House of Commons Library has concluded that EU membership increases the costs of consumer goods, stating that the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy ‘artificially inflates food prices’ and that ‘consumer prices across a range of other goods imported from outside the EU are raised as a result of the common external tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade imposed by the EU. These include footwear (a 17% tariff), bicycles (15% tariff) and a range of clothing (12% tariff)’.
The VAT Directive also requires the charging to VAT of domestic supplies of fuel and power. The 1997 Labour Party Manifesto stated that ‘the tragedy is that those hardest hit are least able to pay. That is why we strongly opposed the imposition of VAT on fuel.‘ However, the party could only pledge to ‘cut VAT on fuel to five per cent, the lowest level allowed‘. When the Labour Party proposed a reduced rate of 17.5% VAT on petrol in 2011, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Justine Greening, said that EU law does ‘not permit a reduced rate or exemption to be applied to transport fuel’, and that renegotiating EU VAT rules could take as much as six years.
Taxation of sanitary products: The VAT Directive also requires the UK to charge sanitary products and contraception to tax of at least 5%. This means a requirement to charge VAT on tampons, despite the opposition of Government Ministers and a majority of MPs. As the Treasury Minister, David Gauke has admitted: ‘any change to EU VAT law would require a proposal from the European Commission and the support of all 28 member states. Without that agreement, we are not permitted to lower rates below 5%‘.
Abortion: Abortion was legalised in Great Britain in 1967. Nonetheless, the EU Treaties specifically grant the Republic of Ireland the right to ban abortion.