Cllr Marianna Ebel, Chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Brexit Working Group comments on the imminent Brexit deal announcement.
Councillor Marianna Ebel, the city council’s Brexit lead said:
“We welcome the announcement of a Brexit Deal, and that pragmatism has prevailed over populist clamour. Nevertheless, no Brexit deal, however good the terms and conditions, can ever be as beneficial as a membership in the European Union. So it still represents a hit on the economy which under the Conservatives will see the most marginalised hit hardest.
“We are hugely frustrated that it took till the eleventh hour for a Brexit Deal to be confirmed. The noise and bluster from the Prime Minister has seen many anxious, needlessly, about their future. The uncertainties of not knowing the outcome of the negotiations were particularly challenging and damaging for our local businesses.
“Free movement of people, goods and services will end and there will be changes to the border operations and procedures. Businesses reliant on overseas workers, especially in the care sector and the hospitality and construction industries, will struggle to recruit much needed staff from abroad under the new Points Based System. Many of our nurses from EU countries fled after the referendum – their absence has of course been felt sharply during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are also deeply disappointed at how EU Citizens were treated by the UK Government in the last 4.5 years. Left with uncertainty over a long period of time, the Government eventually decided that all EU Citizens had to apply for the right to remain in the country they call home.
“Whilst we do not feel it should be necessary for EU Citizens to go through this application process at all, we know that it is the only way of securing EU Citizens’ right to stay in the UK. Therefore, if you haven’t done so yet, we urge you to please apply for EU Settled Status as soon as possible. And please encourage fellow EU Citizens to apply if you know of someone who hasn’t applied yet.”