Dismore questions Deputy Mayor for Business over Brexit

At today’s City Hall Assembly plenary meeting, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM today questioned Rajesh Agrawal, London’s Deputy Mayor for Business and Andrew Cooke, Acting Chief Executive of London and Partners over how Brexit will affect London’s jobs and economy (video link)


Mr Dismore reminded the Deputy Mayor that Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin are already trying to lure jobs away from London, and that Paris has begun an advertising campaign aimed at poaching business from London with billboards at Heathrow and Eurostar showing a green frog with a tricoleur tie and the slogan “Tired of the fog? Try the Frogs! Choose Paris La Defense!”


Berlin has gone further, opening a new base near London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’, to convince British internet firms to move to Berlin.


Mr Dismore asked: ‘What would be the impact on attracting and retaining businesses in London if we lose access to the Single Market and freedom of movement for workers in the EU, as the Conservative Government  seems quite prepared to happen?


In response, Mr Agrawal stressed the importance of business continuity and access to the Single Market.


Mr Dismore added that: ‘If this isn’t going to a case of ‘Aufweidersen tech’, don’t we for example need a London Visa, to resist this opportunist onslaught from our competitor cities?‘


While the Deputy Mayor acknowledged the importance of access to talent, it was a matter for Government. Mr Dismore asked him to continue to lobby on the issue.


Mr Dismore then raised the issue of support for scientific research in London. He said:


‘EU support for science goes well beyond funding. Movement of skills and ideas is especially important in science.

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‘The Francis Crick Institute in my constituency is the UK’s globally-leading scientific discovery institute. They employ and collaborate with the best scientists from around the UK and the world. More than 60% of their laboratory scientists originate from outside the UK and many of our scientists have been successful in obtaining EU grants.


‘I think the Crick’s concerns cut across London’s economy generally as science overlaps with industry and environment, with international standards being vital to operation.  The Crick says:


  1. We must be able to recruit and retain the very best scientists, whatever country they come from.


  1. Movement from country to country must be simple in order to enable the collaboration between scientists that is essential for discovery science.


  1. We must negotiate the best possible access to EU research funding.


‘The UK does disproportionately well in securing EU research funding which funds research projects in science and medicine. How can London and Partners continue to attract the Life Sciences sector to London if we lose access to EU research funding and don’t achieve the Crick’s goals?


‘While the Government claim they would honour any EU funding for projects already funded up until 2020, they say nothing about new projects or what would happen after then,   and anyway  that won’t  save  the 900 London jobs in  the European Medicines Agency (EMA) ,  the largest EU body in Britain, fostering “scientific excellence” in the supervision of medicines. Ireland is already pitching Dublin as its new post Brexit headquarters, will it? ‘