Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Labour run Cambridge City Council, has responded to the Government’s Brexit White Paper, published today (2 February 2017).
Councillor Herbert said: “ While the City Council and most of Cambridge wanted the vote last night to go the other way, we have to work for the best deal for Cambridge regardless of what Parliament decides. Along with key Cambridge organisations we will be raising our issues via our determined Cambridge MP, Daniel Zeichner, including three which stand out immediately.
Firstly - as shown in the weak wording of the White Paper, there has been no real effort so far by the UK government to secure the rights of the 9000 non-UK EU nationals who have made Cambridge their home and want to say here. We support them 100% and we cannot afford to lose their vital contributions to our community and our economy.
Secondly - We are fearful that the government’s economic policy, when we leave the EU, will change the country from being low paid Britain to be lowest paid Britain and Cambridge at the time when both the worst off and those on average incomes already struggle to afford housing costs in the city. If the government cared about them, it would implement the full Living Wage at the same time that we exit the EU.
Thirdly - the commitment to science and research fails to make up for the expected severe damage to Cambridge science, research and innovation from leaving the EU. The White Paper is inadequate on issues like the European partnerships of our universities, and does nothing to reverse the loss of international students and researchers from Europe. We need specific measures to allow free movement of EU students and postgraduates to continue to enrich our city and its future development.”