Coun­cil­lor’s plea to EU work­ers

The Galloway News - - NEWS -

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

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