A ‘REMAIN bonus’ from Britain staying in the EU would provide funds for front-line services in Wharfedale.

That is the claim being made by the Liberal Democrats’ Parliamentary Candidate for Leeds North West, Kamran Hussain, as campaigning for the General Election gets underway.

The party’s leader Jo Swinson has claimed that ‘stopping Brexit’, a cornerstone of the Lib Dem election campaign, would deliver a £50 billion ‘Remain Bonus’ over the next five years.

That figure has been calculated on the basis of a forecast that the economy would be 1.9 per cent larger in 2024-25 if Brexit was abandoned than it would be under the EU departure deal currently being pursued by the Conservative Party.

Mr Hussain said: “At a time when Leeds has seen a year on year increase in violent and sexual offences as well as burglaries and anti-social behaviour it is clear that police and front-line public services are crying out for investment.

“The Remain Bonus will also help us safeguard our fantastic hospitals like Wharfedale Hospital where staff are working incredibly hard and need our support.”

Those claims are being disputed by rival election candidates, however.
Conservative Party candidate for Leeds North West, Stewart Harper, said: "There is no evidence to support this claim.

"In fact, the continued delay and distraction that would be caused by a Labour / Liberal Democrat government would damage business and risk the economic recovery that the people of North West Leeds and Otley have fought so hard for over the last nine years.

"A Conservative government has pledged to invest in our police, our schools and our NHS – funded from the results of the growth that has continued in recent years, whereas our opponents want to increase taxes on businesses and individuals."

Labour's Parliamentary candidate for the seat, Alex Sobel, said: "The cuts that the Lib Dems and Tories have inflicted upon our communities, particularly upon the NHS and local schools, have been deep.

"Our region has been devastated by £1.5 billion of cuts which has hit all our communities including here in Otley, Yeadon and Wharfedale. Wharfedale Hospital does need major support and it is clear with the recent failed vote against NHS privatisation that voters cannot trust the Tories or Lib Dems with the NHS.

"I am sick and tired of seeing people in surgeries who are struggling with their housing or who have had their disability benefits cut. In my view, we must have a final say referendum and also look to a Labour Government who will once again invest in our schools’ hospitals, social care and education."

Green Party candidate Martin Hemingway said: "The economic costs of leaving the EU were clear before the referendum – we must remain, but we must also trust the people and take them with us, involving them in a People's Vote, and not just revoking Article 50.

"Money is needed for all the services that have suffered under austerity but also for dealing with the climate emergency, and this will need more than the saving of money by not leaving the EU.

"It will need more in taxes, including ensuring big companies pay their share, and that we stop subsidising the fossil fuel firms.”