LSE report lays bare Brexit damage to Barnet
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has published a damning report on the likely impact of Brexit on Barnet. The report focuses on the impact on public services and local businesses, concluding that increased public expenditure will be needed, as will strong links to the EU, and a welcoming attitude to migrants.
The report assessed the impact on local businesses as being:
“Brexit may have a strong impact on the recruitment and retention of non-UK EU staff in public services. In Barnet, of particular concern was the NHS, but other services were also mentioned. The experts consulted concurred that Brexit is likely to exacerbate the existing staff shortages identified in Barnet and to create a less welcoming environment for migrants, making it more difficult to recruit EU staff in the future.”
On the impact to local businesses it said:
“Brexit may have a significant impact on household earnings locally in Barnet, in particular on the disposable income which is spent on products and services provided by a variety of local businesses. This potential negative impact, seen at least for the short-term economic future, is believed to lead to some local Barnet businesses closing down or having significantly fewer clients after Brexit.”
The experts and public voices who contributed to the report warned that in order to minimise these potential impacts, the importance of the following were underlined:
- Increasing government spending on public services, in particular for health and social care, and improving work conditions for staff, to retain existing staff and encourage more British-born people to train for these needed jobs;
- Securing close economic links with the EU, to minimise the economic impact on ordinary families in Barnet, consequently maintaining a similar level of local spending which underpins the success of local businesses;
- Providing firm guarantees for non-UK EU citizens working across Barnet’s local economy sectors and preserving a welcoming environment for migrant workers in the area.
Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore said that the report underlined how vital membership of the EU was to Barnet and how damaging Brexit is likely to be.
Mr Dismore said:
‘Barnet has a significant elderly population, and no matter how much technology you use, social care provided by carers is still paramount for a better quality of life and safety. This will be hard, if not impossible after Brexit given the contribution of Eastern European workers. There is no one queueing up to take these vital but low-paid jobs. At the higher skilled level, the number of EU doctors and nurses in Barnet’s Hospitals, such as Edgware, Finchley Memorial and Barnet General is higher than the national average. Given Theresa May’s hostile environment for migrants, should they leave it would be a disaster for health provision. You cannot conjure up qualified medical professionals.
‘When it comes to businesses, the picture is even more stark. Barnet’s town centres and retailers are already struggling with high rents and business rates. Brexit will lead to a period of high inflation, and increased supply costs for businesses. This is a destructive double whammy, where the cost of goods rise and consumers have less money to spend. This is especially true for Barnet’s low paid.’
‘In short, Barnet will come off very badly from any form of Brexit. It may not be a popular thing to say, but we are an area that benefits from migration. Residents who came to Barnet from Europe are an active and welcome part of our community too. It is such a pity that two of our Conservative MPs do not understand the damage their no-deal campaigning will have, and the third is busy climbing the greasy pole so won’t say anything.’
- Andrew Dismore is the Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden
- The report is available here.