Letter: Britain's history of resistance to a European social charter for its workers

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The Independent Online
Sir: Virginia Taylor says that 'the socialists' in Europe and Britain have crippled British industry (Letters, 2 July). Socialists may have their faults, but after 12 years the Conservatives can hardly blame them for the slump in Britain.

The British Tories in the European Parliament are close to despair, recognising that their party is the only one in Europe (apart from Le Pen's European Right) that is opposed to the Social Chapter. This makes Britain's poor feel abandoned by their own Government, particularly since it has recently abolished the minimum wage system, leaving UK workers vulnerable and the UK as the only EC country without legal pay protection, surely a recipe for 'sweatshop labour'.

Ms Taylor's plea for exploitation reveals more ignorance than truth. If her laissez-faire observations were true, why is it that Germany has been a high wage, high social provision economy which has accumulated great wealth? The answer is simple. Show people that they will benefit from industry and growth and they will use their enterprise and energy to great social benefit.

Yours faithfully,

HILARY LEWISON

L. TINKLER

Research Assistants

European Parliament

Brussels

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