Membership of the European Union penalises the very poorest in our society, argues Luke Graystone.

Today's vote is a chance for all of us to decide once and for all what sort of country we want to be. It's a chance to choose who governs us and who we elect. It is a clear choice between a federalised Europe, run by a group of officials over whom we have diminishing influence, or a sovereign nation, run by elected officials answerable to the British people. How do you ensure that the European Union's interests will always be what's best for the UK, and what do you do about it if they're not?

I am clear that the only way to make sure I am governed by people accountable to me is by voting to leave the EU today.

More importantly, I want to leave the EU for the same reason that some want to remain. I care about the very poorest in the world.

Domestically, the evidence of the harm the EU causes those most in need is clear. The Bank of England has produced findings which show that unlimited and uncontrollable migration from a borderless EU have held down wages, particularly for the lower quintile of earners. In fact, they calculate that for every ten per cent rise in the proportion of immigrants, there is an associated two per cent reduction in pay.

Those trying to get a doctor's appointment or a primary school place for their child are being let down by our inability to plan public services. Building schools and hospitals, training teachers and doctors all take time. The same applies to housing. Those unable to buy a house or even afford to rent are those who our exposure to the EU project hurts the most.

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And what about the poorest in the EU itself? It can hardly be said that this project has been good for them. Monetary union without any fiscal or political union was always doomed to fail. And look at the result: northern European economies are flourishing at the expense of their neighbours to the south, where barely half of those under 25 have jobs. A project designed to bring prosperity to all and an end to inequality has succeeded only in exacerbating it, actively driving millions into poverty. The only way to turn things around is to complete the process of fiscal and monetary union, culminating in a complete political union at the expense of national sovereignty. By staying in we are holding back progress; by leaving we can free the EU to act decisively to shore up the most destructive currency union of all time and help those poor citizens who are their pretended concern. We will become their biggest trading partner overnight, supporting them through friendship and free trade.

But this vote is about more than just European interests. Cold War-era trade blocs are the past – it's not free trade, it's just protectionism and it's keeping us from reaching out to the rest of the world and all the opportunities that lie there.

82 per cent of the world is outside the EU, and includes the very poorest countries with populations stricken by millennial poverty ? the kind of poverty it's almost impossible to lift yourself out from. Where is our desire to work together with those countries? Many of them we pay aid to so they can trade and grow, only to see huge tariffs imposed by the EU when they try to trade with us.

I worry about living in a world where such callousness is the norm. A world where we hold down the wages of our poorest, perpetuate massive unemployment, poverty and disenfranchisement across our continent, and look out for our own 'club' rather than the real world beyond its walls.

If I'm sure of one thing it is that this situation is not the future. Our future will be celebrating our differences, trading freely the world over and absolutely working in cooperation and friendship with our European neighbours.

There is only one way to get there, and that is to Vote Leave today.


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