The starting gun in the bid to win votes ahead of a European Union referendum was fired some time ago but today we offer a preview of how the opposing arguments may go.
On one side we have Sheffield Council’s business boss Coun Leigh Bramall who states the case for developments in the city, which have been funded through EU cash.
And on the other is Stocksbridge and Upper Don UKIP Coun Keith Davis who says that the country would be financially better off outside of the EU.
Over the coming months the opinions will come thick and fast.
There will be claim and counter-claim. Scare stories and down-playing of real issues.
It will be difficult to decide either way if your mind is open given the amount of information which will be pumped out by the opposing sides.
However, the referendum result should settle the issue for a long, long time.
Having said that, the Scottish ‘No’ vote hardly hampered the Scottish National Party’s standing during May’s general election.
So it is all up for grabs and no one can be honestly certain of what the result will be this far out from even a referendum date being set.
South Yorkshire has been one of the United Kingdom’s biggest beneficiaries from the EU.
The region has received more than £1 billion of EU money since the early 1990s to fund projects such as The Peace Gardens, Tudor Square and the Advanced Manufacturing Retail Park.
On the flip side, as Coun Davis says, the cash is “just recycled money.
“We give away £56 million a day to the EU and £12 billion in foreign aid, on top of that £56 million.”
The figures on both sides are very large.
What we’ll never know is whether our area would have received that investment if we weren’t part of the EU.
There is also the question of immigration into our area from people from EU countries. That debate will no doubt be played out for a long time and could be the decisive factor in the way some people vote.
Sheffield Chamber of Commerce boss Richard Wright makes some excellent points in the article and I would urge you to read it.
While you may not think the EU affects you directly there are all sorts of things – good and bad – which stem from it.
Now’s the time to start forming an opinion.