The EU Referendum – how does that affect waste? - Blog

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Monday 6th June 2016

In or out? Usually when we ask that question around the office it’s about whether to put something in the bin or not, but just this once, it’s about the EU referendum instead. Our MD, Bill Swan, has some thoughts.

What's the issue?

The referendum on the 23rd June represents without doubt the biggest choice this country will face for a generation. If we vote in a General Election we are making a choice for the next 5 years. A decision to leave (Brexit) would have far reaching implications for many decades to come and we won’t be able to say ‘oops we made a mistake, please let us back in’. This is a big vote.

How does that affect waste?

Drivers are key to the success of any recycling firm and BPR Group is no exception to that. The majority of the drivers employed by BPR Group are from eastern Europe and the sorting line at our Material Recovery Facility (MRF) is almost exclusively Polish. As anyone in the industry will know, it is incredibly difficult to recruit drivers, as such, we are not an exploitative employer offering low wages. A driver with us earns from £23k to £35k (with overtime). Our MRF staff get paid significantly over the minimum wage. Without these staff we could not carry out our business.

Each year, we export over £750k of paper and other recyclables to Europe. If this becomes subject to tariffs then we will receive less money for our products, leading to an increase in recycling costs for our customers. 
These two examples illustrate the economic arguments that overwhelmingly support remaining in Europe.

Our sorting line

But what about immigration?!

But immigration is the big issue for the heart. There is no doubt that massive, unplanned immigration has changed the face of London and many other cities in England. It has brought with it social change and disruption that people did not ask for and politicians have consistently down played its impacts. When main stream politicians do not listen it allows populist leaders like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump to tap into people’s anger at being ignored. But these leaders are not offering real solutions to real problems, they are offering slogans and magic wands. We do need to get a grip on immigration. We do need to crack down on the fake marriages, bogus asylum seekers and visa over-stayers. But we can do all that within Europe.
It is a fake choice that the Leave campaign is offering, we do not need to leave Europe to police our immigration system better or to train our children better to get the jobs that currently can only be filled by people from abroad.

What can we do?

Finally, it is said that you can judge someone by the company that they keep. Currently in the Leave camp, we have Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Nigel Farage, George Galloway, and Marine Le Pen. The campaign is largely financed by dodgy hedge fund managers. It should surely give pause for thought when entering the ballot box to think that this is the company that Leave is keeping.
So REGISTER to vote if you have not done so already and VOTE on the day. And in my opinion you should be voting REMAIN.

Bill Swan

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