IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Customs union is a driver of poverty

27 April, 2018

• IN the week the unelected House of Lords voted to try to force the government to explore the option of staying in a customs union with the EU the Commonwealth heads of government met in London.

The Common­wealth pre-dates the EU and will outlive it. It in­cludes a population over four times that of the EU and has countries apply­ing to join, and not for the handouts. Recent joiners include Mozam­bique, a country with historical connection to Portugal.

The customs union targets the economies of many Commonwealth members by imposing tariffs on agricultural exports. Kenya suffered this pernicious treatment when the EU targeted its cut flower exports to force it into signing a disadvantageous trade deal. Kenya felt power­less to resist so signed. Guess who benefits?

At the very least Remainers should admit the customs union targets with tariffs poor countries, many of which receive development aid from the EU. Guilty money? The House of Lords and the Labour Party should have the decency to make clear that a customs union is a driver of poverty.

Sadly, the issue seems to be sub­verted by squalid party gamesmanship. No one is willing to own up to the damage they are prepared to see inflicted.

Tens of millions are, as a matter of policy, condemned to poverty while a few prosper. Poverty for the many not the few.

Surely reason enough for anyone with a conscience to support Vote Leave. It’s just the right thing to do and yet there are those who would draw great pride should they defy democracy and keep us in “a” customs union.

STEPHEN SOUTHAM
Mildmay Grove North, N1

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