What does Brexit mean to people living in North Somerset?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 November 2018
Councillors have decided to wait on making decisions relating to Brexit and labelled any legislation as being ‘premature’.
Cllr Mike Bell called for the authority to provide relevant support to the European Union (EU) citizens who live or work in the district during, and after, Brexit.
An estimated 7,000 people from EU countries live in the district, but as the UK is not due to leave the EU until March 29 next year, councillors voted to look at the matter again closer to that time.
Cllr Bell, who proposed the motion at a North Somerset Council meeting, said: “Brexit remains controversial but I think it is important for us to reassure people we can help them out.
“Many EU residents are employed locally and pay council tax, they are faced with a huge amount of uncertainty and are worried about it in respect of their children’s education and the support services available to them.
“When we talk about projects in 2019 we are already doing work for them so the idea this motion is premature is ludicrous.
“It would be shameful if we do not prepare to put in place appropriate measures.”
Council leader Nigel Ashton called the motion ‘premature’ as at this stage in the Brexit negotiations ‘no one knows exactly what is going to happen’.
Stephen Barclay has been named the new Brexit Secretary, in place of Dominic Raab in the latest of staff shake-ups as the draft withdrawal agreement for Britain to leave the EU was published.
Cllr Mark Canniford said: “A lot of people who will be affected by Brexit live and work in the town centres of Portishead and Clevedon, they make a massive contribution to our communities.
“This council should make people feel comfortable North Somerset is a place they want to be living in the future.”
Cllr Chris Blades added: “I am very sympathetic but this is jumping the gun.”
The Times reported in September the uncertainty around Brexit has prompted a fall in net migration in North Somerset.
Data from the Office for National Statistics recorded 751 people immigrated to the district from mid-2016 to mid-2017, compared to the 844 who moved in the 12 months preceding the 2016 referendum.