Barnet Council finally admit high risks of Brexit
Barnet Council has finally admitted to Brexit-related risks affecting the Council. On 20th February, Barnet’s Policy and Resources Committee met to discuss the issue, the committee report stating that Brexit would result in three highly likely, high impact risks. These included the likelihood that more EU nationals would leave the country or fewer arrive, resulting in loss of skilled staff and shortages in Council services dependent on EU workers, such as social care, care workers, nurses, healthcare, environmental services and construction. Recruitment and retention in an already stretched workforce could be an issue for the Council’s supply chain, too.
There are 10,500 adult social care jobs in Barnet: 27% of these workers have EU nationality – around 2,835 workers. The financial implications could be significant as the Council may need to pay more to retain staff.
A significant number of the Council’s environmental workforce potentially will be affected by Brexit as will the Council’s supply chain companies which rely on European staff to maintain their operations. This includes highways maintenance which relies heavily on EU nationals and where the contract ends in 2 years’ time. Highways are already facing problems filling vacancies.
Council housing will also be affected, as around 10% of Barnet Group staff, 20% of maintenance contractors and 25% of construction staff are EU nationals.
Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM said:
‘This long overdue report lays bare how severe Brexit’s impact will be on Barnet. Even tackling these problems will be expensive, at a time of severe pressure on Council funds. Shocking though the report is, it fails to consider the consequences for Barnet as a whole. For example, it would have been sensible to have looked at what Brexit means for major employers like Middlesex University, or the Brent Cross regeneration. It’s clear the Conservatives have their head in the sand and are incapable of seeing the bigger picture.’
Barnet Labour Councillor Sara Conway added:
‘This report shows how important EU citizens are to our borough and we should start by recognising and thanking them for their contribution. Last year’s London School of Economics report highlighted local residents’ concerns about the impact of Brexit on public services and local businesses. Conservative Barnet Council has left it very late to recognise the impact of Brexit on Barnet. Prime Minister Theresa May should not be risking Barnet’s housing, social care and even our highway maintenance in her failing endeavour to maintain Conservative Party unity at the expense of the country as a whole.’
- Andrew Dismore is the Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden
- Cllr Sara Conway is a Councillor for Burnt Oak and Labour Group spokesperson on Community Leadership.
- The report can be found here under Item 7.