New committee to look at how Brexit will affect Plymouth

The potential impact of Brexit on Plymouth will come under the microscope in a new scrutiny committee that has been set up by the new administration.

Papers have been published today for the first meeting of Brexit, Infrastructure and Legislative Change Overview Scrutiny Committee – which takes place on June 6 – and gives a broad sweep of the issues that the city will need to explore.

Chair of the Committee Councillor Jonny Morris, said: “Brexit is the biggest issue to face Britain in decades. We’ve set up the Brexit Scrutiny Committee to really focus in detail on the impact it will have in Plymouth. The Council needs to be ready to act to reduce any negative effects as well as capitalise on new opportunities. We’re looking forward to getting as much involvement and information from businesses, organisations and Plymouth people as we possibly can in the year ahead.”

The first meeting will set the parameters of the scrutiny committee and how it will look at issues including:

• the supply of migrant labour – locally EU migrant labour is represented in particular sectors including academia, advanced engineering, manufacturing, construction, tourism, care and the health sector
• foreign direct investment – this is increasing on the back of weak sterling, but the city needs to discuss its future trading relationship. Like other coastal cities and ports it has disproportionately invested in manufacturing and export.
• domestic and international connectivity – the impact on any new customs arrangements at the city’s ferry port
• loss of direct EU support – funds allocated to the UK are worth €107 a person a year. Plymouth’s share would be €27 million a year if this was shared equally, but European Structural and Investments Funds for the whole Heart of the South West area is only €19 million
• impact on the higher education sector
• the potential impact on tourists from Europe
The committee will be hearing evidence from businesses and organisations, but is also keen to hear ‘real Plymouth voices’, he added.

Some facts and stats:
Plymouth has a slightly lower proportion of EU migrants than the rest of the UK, with roughly 11,000 people, 4.2 per cent of our working age population, were from EU countries in 2015, compared to 5 per cent nationally.
In the South West they are more likely to be employed than the average UK worker (81 per cent versus 76 per cent).