Councillor’s plea to EU workers
STEPHEN NORRIS Brexit could damage Dumfries and Galloway’s ability to keep and attract key workers, councillors will hear today.
And restrictive freedom of movement rules could make tackling the region’s declining and ageing population harder.
The warning comes in a motion to full council from Dee and Glenkens member Dougie Campbell urging all local EU citizens to stay.
The motion also recognises the “hurt” caused EU citizens by forcing them to apply for settled status.
It states: “Many have lived here for many years, paid taxes, raised families and contributed significantly to our region’s cultural, social and economic wellbeing and are essential to the running of public services, including our NHS.
“Dumfries and Galloway Council very much regrets the impact of Brexit on our EU citizens and the protracted period of worry and uncertainty that it has created.
“Our communities have benefitted significantly from their choice to live here and our local economy relies on EU employees in a wide range of sectors, including farming, fishing, food production, health and social care, tourism and hospitality.”
It adds: “Our council notes that recruitment to critical roles such as doctors, nurses and carers is a longstanding challenge in Dumfries and Galloway and many EU citizens have been recruited to work in these fields.
“The cessation of freedom of movement has the potential to exacerbate the challenges of recruitment and retention of key personnel necessary to support, in particular, our rural communities and undermines our ability to respond to the challenges of a rapidly declining and ageing population.”
The motion also calls for the UK Government’s controversial £30,000 minimum salary rule for incoming skilled workers to be removed.
“The £30k salary threshhold will result in skilled workers being unable to move to the UK to take up vital posts in our region’s private and public sectors, including the NHS,” Mr Campbell contends.
And the motion urges Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell to use “any influence he may have” with the UK Government to protect the region’s already fragile economy from the “unnecessary consequences” of Brexit.
Councillor Archie Dryburgh is seconding the proposal.
Brexit motion Dougie Campbell