In Lincolnshire, our local businesses – especially the agriculture, food processing and manufacturing sectors that make up the backbone of our economy – face hazardous uncertainty, EU nationals face uncertain futures, and our hospitals are under threat. After almost three years of the government failing to deliver, all the signs point towards a Brexit that will be hugely detrimental to Lincolnshire. Polls show support for Brexit in Lincolnshire has notably declined.
“Businesses have been watching in horror as politicians have focused on factional disputes rather than practical steps that business needs to move forward. The lack of progress in Westminster means that the risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is rising.”
- Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce condemns the way the Brexit process has been handled.
Information obtained following a Freedom of Information request, establishes that Lincolnshire County Council's own Brexit Working Group has identified the following of many factors:-
- The Localis report "In Place of Work – influencing Local Labour Markets” highlights that based on the aggregate of risk factors to the Labour market, Greater Lincolnshire is identified as having the highest aggregate risk in the UK based on a combined measure of exposure to three structural labour market risks arising from the impact of changes to migration policy after Brexit.
- Lincolnshire's major sectors rely on EU workers, including the health and care sector which provides services to the most vulnerable people in Lincolnshire.
- Migrant labour in the food production sector is not temporary workers picking soft fruit; Lincolnshire businesses have a year round requirement for labour, often filled by EU workers.
- Approximately 82 per cent of EU born citizens living in Lincolnshire are working age (16-64), compared to 61 per cent of the UK born population.
- The over 75 population in Lincolnshire is projected to increase by 95% in the next 25 years, and the working age population (16-64) is projected to be stagnant.
- Lincolnshire County Highways relies on a number of foreign nationals, mainly through the supply chain. These include a number of Spanish engineers and archaeologists. If they leave the UK there will be an industry wide skills shortage and the government will struggle to deliver on its infrastructure plans.
- Between 12% and 14% of businesses in Lincolnshire trade internationally. Any new international trade deals will take a long time to agree.
- Just under two thirds of Lincolnshire's export market is the EU, with Belgium and the Netherlands standing out as the destinations for £572m and £336m respectively.
- If the UK leaves the Customs Union, Food, Beverages and Tobacco is one of the sectors expected to be most highly impacted, as tariffs are usually quite high.
- The imposition of tariffs and other barriers to trade if the UK leaves the Single Market and Customs Union would increase costs for manufacturers and reduce their competitiveness.
- There are approximately 120,000 EU students studying in the UK generating over £3bn for the UK economy. Around 20,000 jobs dependent on foreign students with a high level of integration between the UK and EU education sector.
- The EU invests heavily in UK universities, further education, and research - £8bn in the last decade - e.g. transformation of University of Lincoln.
- UK negotiators have warned of significant economic and security dangers for Europe should the EU not grant a special deal on data-sharing laws after Brexit.
- An agreement on data protection will be crucial for the EU and the UK, and any disruption to cross-border data flows would be costly to all partners.
The government is struggling to get any legislation through a very divided parliament because what was promised just can’t be delivered. A disastrous no-deal Brexit is looming, as politicians prove incapable of decisive action.
The only way to unblock the legislative jam and put a stop to this mess is to give the decision back to the people.
Whichever way you voted two years ago, nobody voted to be poorer or to give up control. Brexit campaigners promised we would continue to enjoy ‘the exact same benefits’ of being in the EU, while ‘taking back control’. But we now know these promises will be broken – not because the Government won’t keep them - but because they can’t be kept. Instead, the current Brexit trajectory delivers the exact opposite of what was promised: the UK would lose all its rights as an EU member – with less trade, fewer opportunities and lower living standards – while suffering the biggest loss of sovereignty, prosperity and control in British history.