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People must be given a final vote on an agreement which will impact on so much of their lives’ says Richmond Council Leader

A report to Cabinet last night (15th November) outlined the potential negative impact leaving the European Union will have on Richmond upon Thames.

The report covers the impact on the borough’s EU citizen residents (who make up approximately 7 per cent of our population), adult social services, community safety, business community, and funding.

Adult Social Care services are particularly impacted by ongoing uncertainty around Brexit with 21.5 per cent of the borough’s workforce in the sector made up of EU nationals.

The Brexit process is already impacting confidence in the borough’s business community with a March 2018 survey showing 31 per cent of the borough’s businesses expected their business performance will get worse because of Brexit, and 53 per cent expect the general business environment to worsen due to Brexit.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council said:

“With the details of the Government’s draft agreement now emerging, we can see written down in black and white what we expected - a deal which leaves the people of Richmond upon Thames and across the UK much worse off.

“We are calling on Theresa May and her Government to urgently provide clarity on its anticipated outcomes of Brexit, and how it intends local authorities to act, so that the impact can be properly assessed, and mitigating steps taken.

“With so much to be concerned about in this deal we reaffirm our demand that the people of Richmond upon Thames and across the United Kingdom be given a final vote on an agreement, which will impact on so much of their lives, including of course the option of voting to remain within the EU.”

Cllr Piers Allen, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services said:

“As Richmond upon Thames has the highest proportion of EU nationals working in the care force of any local authority we are rightly highly concerned about the impact Brexit will have on a sector that is already straining under the weight of long-term underfunding from central government.

“We are already working with care providers to ensure we remain up-to-date on the employment market in the sector and are working with commissioned service providers to ensure mitigations are in place to limit the impact leaving the EU will have on service provision in the borough.

“We must be realistic though that any preparations will only limit the impact and no matter how prepared we are the impact of Brexit will still be felt.”

Cllr Geoff Acton, Cabinet Member for Business, Economy and Employment said:

“The ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, and the lack of clarity provided by the Government is already having an adverse effect on confidence levels amongst our business community.

“We are sceptical as to whether this proposed deal will reverse the trend we are seeing and address a critical lack of skilled, experienced and knowledgeable labour available to business owners as European workers leave the UK which ultimately restrict their ability to grow and thrive.”

You can read the Cabinet report here.

— from a Richmond Council press release - 16 November 2018