Dismore questions Mayor over London Economy post Brexit

At today’s London Assembly plenary session to approve the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM, deputy chair of the City Hall Economy Committee led the questioning of Mayor Sadiq Khan, focussing on the impact of Brexit on London’s economy.

Mr Dismore asked:

‘How will Brexit affect the implementation of your Economic Development Strategy?

‘Yesterday (28 November) the Chancellor admitted that leaving the EU under any Brexit scenario will make the UK poorer. GDP would be 7.6% lower than if the UK had stayed in the EU, equivalent to around £150bn. Treasury analysis of Mrs May’s deal states it will leave the size of the UK economy up to 3.9% smaller after 15 years, compared with staying in the EU. A ‘no-deal’ Brexit could deliver a 9.3% hit. Mr Hammond claimed it was not just about the economy (a rather bizarre line for a Chancellor you might think) and the Prime Minister’s deal would deliver “political benefits”. How many Londoners do you think voted to become poorer; and can you see any political benefits whatsoever for London from the Government’s scheme?

‘Your strategy and the LEAP commit around £295m from the European Social Fund towards skills, employment, enterprise and youth programmes in London. If London does not get our fair share from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund after losing  the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund, what do you think the impact on London’s labour market will be in the event of either a ‘no deal’ Brexit or the Prime Minister’s flawed deal bearing in mind that we already have a problem filling vacancies in essential services like the NHS and care homes; and so many shops, cafes and restaurants have vacancy signs in their windows?

‘Doesn’t all this reinforce the argument for a People’s Vote on Brexit, this time with a properly informed debate, without lies and foreign interference from either Russia or the USA?’

The Mayor said:

There will be a big impact. We are none the wiser on the outcome. Parliament may accept or reject a deal. There are four separate outcomes – no deal, a general election, a public vote, or an amended deal. The Prime Minister’s deal is blindfolded and kicks the can down the road. All the scenarios are not great. It beggars belief the Chancellor is talking about the sole benefit as ‘political’, when he has seen the figures. Lower tax income means lower public services. The Mayor commissioned Cambridge Econometics to model scenarios last year last year, and the worst was no deal. A year later the Bank of England’s and the Chancellor’s own analysis confirm it. Losing ESF will lead to severe structural damage, in stopping long-term unemployed people getting into work. If we do not get our fair share, we can’t do what we do currently. Transferring control from Brussels to Whitehall is no help Restricting migration to tier 2 – earnings of £30,000 or over – will hit every industry and service in London. The vote last time was based on a promise of “milk and honey”. We’ve now seen the outcome that has proven that wrong.