Like many other local government organisations around the country, Stevenage Borough council must assess risk and benefits associated with Brexit. Many local businesses, large and small will also be doing so and are also hampered by the lack of substance in information to date from government negotiators. The longer it takes for clarity to emerge, the less time there will be for the public and private sector in the constituency to make contingency plans or optimally reorganise. That this lack of information has potentially serious implications for local jobs and development seems obvious.
The Leader of the council has written to Mr Raab and her letter is reproduced in full below.
25th October 2018
Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP
Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
House of Commons
Dear Secretary of State
Sustainable Communities Act 2007
I am aware that the Leader of Plymouth City Council has written to you on 28 August 2018, requesting information and assessment of impacts arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on Plymouth’s communities and businesses. Cllr Evans set out a proposal under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 for receipt of all relevant government information and analysis relevant to the city. I am writing on behalf of Stevenage Borough Council and would request that similar information is provided in relation to the Stevenage area.
Stevenage has a vibrant economy, with a very strong trading relationship with other European countries. Stevenage is host to around 50,000 jobs, with many residents and businesses working in highly competitive and integrated industries, such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, advanced engineering and healthcare. Key employers include Airbus space and defence, playing a key role in current international programmes and the production of satellites. GSK are based within Stevenage, operating one of only two global Research and Development hubs and leading ground-breaking research, supported by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, bringing forward new and innovative products to transform healthcare. The town is also host to a large MBDA site, and a range of other highly skilled advanced manufacturing organisations. Almost 8,000 people are employed in health and social care roles, including at the Lister Hospital which provides services to the wider region,
An estimated 6,000 European Union citizens live within the town and contribute to the local and regional economy, Brexit has implications in relation to the employment of EU citizens, sector deals for space and pharmaceuticals, access to markets, access to highly complex supply chains across international borders, and the confidence of investors to choose to invest their capital into innovative businesses in the town.
I recognise that negotiations with the European Union are ongoing with a number of matters to resolve. I also appreciate that it is imperative that the public sector and private businesses make preparations, including the implications of a no deal Brexit. My request is that government share information and impacts arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, given the implications for residents, businesses, EU citizens and service providers within Stevenage.
I look forward to your response.
Councillor Sharon Taylor, OBE
Leader of the Council