Labour coun­cil­lors slam Street for Brexit sup­port

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Carl Jack­son Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

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

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