The work of a regional anti hate-crime campaign launched by MEPs must not be lost when Britain leaves the European Union, a prominent multi-faith gathering heard.
West Midlands Together had quickly established a track record for championing an open and tolerant society and promoting harmony and understanding, said founder Anthea McIntyre MEP.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, told the interfaith service at the Al-Mahdi Institute, Weoly Park Road, Birmingham, that the region had a proud record of welcoming people from across the world.
They had settled here and contributed greatly to our society, she said: "But in the aftermath of the EU referendum we saw a substantial increase in reported hate crime. And this exposed an undercurrent of xenophobia and racism in parts of our society, which I felt had to be tackled."
Miss McIntyre told how she invited Labour MEP colleague Neena Gill in November 2016 to co-chair West Midlands Together, with senior Liberal Democrats also joining the steering committee in a fully cross-party initiative.
It brought together representatives of the mainstream political parties, BAME communities, Police and Crime Commissioners, local government, universities, and the West Midlands Mayor.
She said: "We are here to advance an open, tolerant and inclusive society...and to propose practical solutions to better ensure lasting harmony between people, irrespective of their geographic background or cultural tradition."
The interfaith service was titled "Creating a City of Peace Together" and commemorated the victims of recent attacks on religious services in New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Miss McIntyre counted a series of conferences and awareness-raising events among the campaign's achievements and said: "Our youth conference in Birmingham was a particular success. Sixth forms and colleges across the region were invited to take part and produced artwork, poetry, songs, posters and videos. Very inspiring presentations resulted and we hope to hold another conference this year.
"The challenge now is to keep this initiative going after Brexit when we no longer have MEPs and their offices to provide administrative support."
She said it was vital that political parties should continue to unite against all hate crime to bring the West Midlands Together, and she stressed: "I am determined we will keep it going for as long as there is a need."
New UK jobs figures show "progress on all fronts", says the Conservative Party's employment spokesman in Brussels.
Anthea McIntyre pointed to falling unemployment in tandem with rising wages as clear evidence that government policies were transforming Britain's jobs landscape.
Welcoming the latest employment statistics Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said: "We have let entrepreneurs and innovators get on with what comes naturally and that has produced a climate where jobs are created, work is worthwhile and the nation gets busy.
"It is particularly heartening that employment among the younger, disabled and ethnic minority workforce is increasing along with the rest. This jobs revival is something no Labour government has ever produced - and its benefits are being felt right across society.
"People have the dignity of work, that work is putting more money in their wage packets and our tax reforms are sending more of that cash straight to their pockets.
"Wherever you look things are moving in the right direction. Our opponents can criticise all they like but the figures don't lie."
Anthea McIntyre MEP has welcomed the announcement that a string of West Midlands companies have been honoured as part of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
They are among more than 200 selected nationally for their entrepreneurship and Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, hailed them as an example of Staffordshire's entrepreneurial spirit.
The companies are Prometheus Medical, Semantics 21, Spectra Group, Synectics Solutions, Thorax Lighting and Warwick Music, which were honoured for innovation; and Allett, Aviation News, C Brandauer & Co, John Martin Design Associates, Leeson Polyurethanes, Proto Labs, REPL Group Worldwide, Seada Technology, The Helping Hand Company, The Lawton Tube Co which won awards for international trade.
Three-quarters of this year’s winners are small or medium-sized businesses. Miss McIntyre, Conservative employment in the European Parliament, said: "This demonstrates that the UK is one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business."
This was down to the environment created by the Conservative Government and its modern Industrial Strategy which enhanced support already provided, she said.
The winners will receive their awards at a Buckingham Palace reception, where their contribution to the UK economy will be celebrated. These awards recognise businesses for their contribution in four categories, with winners including:
129 International Trade winners
61 Innovation winners
6 Sustainable Development winners
5 Promoting Opportunity winners
Miss McIntyre said: “I am delighted these wonderful companies have been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen with such prestigious awards.
“They are a proud example of our region, making a huge contribution not just to the West Midlands region, but as an innovative and talented businesses to our growing economy as a whole.
“The Conservatives are working hard to create the best possible environment to start and grow businesses, and I’m delighted that these businesses are recognised for their hard work.”
West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre has launched a scathing attack on a proposed directive on "Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions" which she says is rushed through and will unfairly hit small businesses and the self-employed.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament, said the measures - already agreed in three-way negotiations between the EU Council, Commission and Parliament, would not bring any real benefit to workers but would have damaging consequences for small b businesses especially.
In condemning the report by Spanish MEP Calvet Chambon, from Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe, she said: "Throughout my time here in the Parliament and in the Employment Committee I have championed better regulation.
"And this is not better regulation. It is a mad rush to conclude legislation at any cost, so we have abandoned our commitment to the Parliament text on this directive."
Miss McIntyre, who this week received an award from the European Taxpayers Association for her parliamentary work to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), said the proposed directive was particularly unfair because it allowed exceptions for state employers.
Speaking in Strasbourg, she said: "This will allow governments and civil services to exempt themselves from the very rules they will be compelling small business to follow."
"This is scandalous hypocrisy through unfair preference, unfair treatment, unfair competition. In ordinary language, a stitch up."
Campaigning MEP Anthea McIntyre has been honoured by the European Taxpayers' Association for her outstanding work in standing up for small business.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, received the award for her work on the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, where she is co-ordinator for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.
Her work there has included a series of reports and initiatives promoting better regulation and highlighting the damage done to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by burdensome red tape.
Earlier this year she presented the EU Commission a report on how an annual burden survey should be applied to gauge the impact of legislation on business. In coming weeks she will publish a report promoting nudge theory, which explores how better information and persuasion can work better than hitting business with legislation and compulsion.
Mis McIntyre said: "I am delighted to have been awarded this certificate of honour from an organisation which wants only the best for taxpayers."
"SMEs are the life blood of our economy. When they do well, business as a while does well. They are the green shoots of our prosperity and we must nurture them. They need the space and freedom to grow - not strangling by over-regulation. his had been my goal throughout my time in Brussels."
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