What is the impact of Brexit?

11 July 2018

Southwark Council has created a cross-party panel to explore the impact of Brexit on the borough. 

Two years on from the vote to leave the EU, there is still huge uncertainty surrounding Brexit. With councils across the country set to face the changes, not only in terms of regulation, resources, workforce and the health of the local economy, but also the impact on their EU residents, next week Southwark Council is holding its first cross-party Brexit panel meeting. 

Recently appointed Southwark Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Brexit, Victoria Mills, formed the new panel to hear evidence and work together in scoping out the impact of change on where it will hit hardest – especially care for vulnerable groups, on businesses and Southwark’s hugely diverse population. 

With 12 per cent of NHS healthcare workers and 13 per cent of social care workers in London being EU citizens the effect on this sector could be significant. Southwark, like most London boroughs, is founded on the success of its migrant population. Many well established communities of EU passport holders thrive in the inner-London borough and add to the richness of one of the most diverse areas in the country with hundreds of languages spoken. The impact on London could be far greater than in rural areas. 

The panel will hold its first evidence gathering session at a public meeting on Tuesday 17 July at the council’s offices in Tooley Street. Residents will be able to attend to share their views and concerns, with the first session’s theme based around business continuity and how Brexit could challenge and affect Southwark’s businesses and workers. Another session, themed around health, education and public services is set to happen in autumn.  Southwark Council is also planning to host a Regional Brexit Sounding Board in autumn with the Local Government Association to add strength to the voice of local government to the MHCLG over its concerns and contribute to policy development.  

The panel of six, made up of two cabinet members, two Liberal Democrat opposition members and two Labour party back bench politicians, will ask for research first into the local impact, and then the wider implications of Brexit for councils across the country. 

Councillor Mills said: “I want the council to stand in solidarity with our European residents who live and work in the borough and are facing great uncertainty and I fear for the potential impact on our health and care industry workforce especially, one of the biggest employers of European nationals. I am very keen to protect these communities and ensure that the rights and wishes of all Southwark residents are upheld during the process of Brexit. It’s vital that we prepare for how Brexit could affect our residents, and mitigate the impact on local councils in the wake of Brexit.”

Cllr David Noakes, the Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said “In a borough where almost three-quarters of Southwark residents voted to remain and where a significant number of European nationals have chosen to make their home, it is right that we work cross party to see how Southwark Council can mitigate any negative impacts of Brexit and support those who live, work and study in our borough. Southwark is an open and welcoming borough and we want to remain that way.”       

If you wish to attend on 17 July at Southwark Council’s offices, 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH, 4pm to 6pm, please email Harjeet.sahota@southwark.gov.uk

Page last updated: 11 July 2018