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Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Monday, 31 October 2011

EU isolation 'costs jobs, growth and livelihoods'

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has again warned Conservative eurosceptic MPs that seeking looser ties with the European Union will have a direct effect on jobs. Mr Clegg said three million jobs depended on Europe, which was vital for economic growth in Britain.

"I'm strongly in favour of reform of the European Union. I have been all my political life," he told Today presenter James Naughtie.

"I'm in favour of reform, yes; isolation, no. Why? Because isolation costs jobs, costs growth, costs people's livelihoods. That is why people need to be careful for what they wish for because if you wilfully move to the margins of Europe before you know it you'll find it's hitting people where it hurts most in terms of their jobs and their livelihoods and that's not something I think anyone should seriously want."

And Mr Clegg said that today's announcement of £950m of government support for business, the second tranche of money from the Regional Growth Fund, will help create and safeguard more than 325,000 jobs.

He insisted that the fund would help companies which were the "lifeblood" of the British economy and invest money in jobs that would last.

"We need to get more bangs for our bucks and I think using your money, my money, taxpayers' money - in a way that for every £1 of money used from the public purse we get £6 of money brought in from the private sector - creates a huge kind of snowball effect which in turn of course, as this programme is doing, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs."

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