Labour councillors slam Street for Brexit support
BREXIT could be ‘devastating’ for Birmingham, a group of Labour councillors have warned.
The ten city council members expressed fears that ‘ordinary people’ will lose their jobs and opportunities for children will ‘disappear’.
They have all put their names to a public letter backing calls to give people another public vote on the final Brexit deal.
They also criticise Conservative West Midlands Mayor Andy Street for backing the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposals and having ‘no clear plan to deal with the risk of leaving the EU.’ Mr Street has not responded. The Labour letter underlined five key ways in which Birmingham has benefited from the EU. The councillors claim: 40 per cent of exports go to the union;
More than £1 billion of EU funding has benefited the likes of the West Coast Main Line, the International Convention Centre, the Town Hall and the Nishkam Centre;
The EU had helped thousands of young people into work;
It had provided £60 million in support when Rover collapsed in 2005 and had ploughed more than £240 million into the city’s universities.
The letter said: “Brexit uncertainty is already hurting our city, with the announcement that 2,000 staff at Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich plant will move to a threeday week.
“Suppliers and surrounding businesses will be impacted too.
“If this forces production abroad, the results for the city will be devastating.”
It added: “By the government’s own analysis, under every single Brexit scenario, the West Midlands will be hit harder than any other region outside the north east.
“We are worried that Tory Mayor Andy Street, who supports the now discredited Chequers Deal, has no clear plan to deal with the risks of leaving the EU.... Our city has already faced some of the heaviest cuts in the country – the government has forced brutal cuts on policing, schools, fire and council services across the city... Ordinary people are going to lose their jobs and watch opportunities for their children disappear.”
Last month leaked government assessments revealed the West Midlands economy could shrink by up to 13 per cent after Brexit.
But Prime Minister Theresa May promised an end to austerity after leaving EU, during her speech at the Conservative Party conference held in Birmingham.
The Labour-run Birmingham City Council has also been criticised this year for shelving a Brexit impact report for the city and then refusing requests to release it.
But since then deputy leader Cllr Brigid Jones has vowed that an updated impact assessment would be publicised ‘once the full implications’ of leaving the EU become known.
> West Midlands mayor Andy Street