Wednesday 22 August 2018 - People's Vote

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Morning briefing: We need EU workers - lights out for Northern Ireland - Brexit deal deadline slips

Who is going to look after our old people if Brexit goes ahead? There will be a shortfall of 380,000 care workers by 2026 if low-skilled migrants are blocked from coming to the UK, according toanalysis by think-tank Global Future. There is already a 90,000 shortfall.

One in every six adult social care roles in England is filled by carers from outside the UK. Strict visa limits on low-skilled workers have restricted staff from outside the EU to take care of our growing number of old people. The number of EU nationals has increased to fill this gap.

Social care is just one example of how we will be hit as Brexit cuts the number of EU nationals working in the UK - either directly due to visa restrictions or because working here becomes a less attractive prospect.

Another report out today, from the Centre for Cities, warns of theimpact on southern cities like London, Cambridge and Oxford which rely on the “significant economic benefits” of EU workers. About 1 in 10 employees in major southern cities come from the EU.


Meanwhile, trade secretary Liam Fox said yesterday the government will be reviewing its “hundreds of thousands” net migration target after Brexit, citing the need to “match our employment opportunities with our migration policy”. That’s probably an admission that the target, which has never been hit, will remain elusive post-Brexit - since net migration from outside the EU on its own was around 200,000 in 2017, roughly twice the EU figure.

Quite how the government plans to look after old people, make sure the NHS has enough nurses and doctors, and ensure companies can hire the workers they need is a mystery. Perhaps a long-awaited White Paper, now promised for the autumn, will tell us.


Tweet of the day

The OFOC team outside the Department of Health and Social Care this morning.


Keeping the lights on

The government is trying to hide some of the consequences of crashing out of the EU, according to The Times. Business secretary Greg Clark has held urgent talks with officials in Dublin on an emergency agreement to keep the lights on in Northern Ireland. But the government is keen not to reveal the “incendiary” worst-case scenario, which would see thousands of generators needing to be imported - including a scheme to put some of them on barges.

But the government will tomorrow publish its first batch of documents - roughly 20 out of a total of 84 - on how to prepare for “no deal”. Chief among them is “surprise” analysis on banking, reports the Guardian. There are also expected to be documents on nuclear research, farm payments, state aid, health and the EU’s Erasmus+ educational scheme.

Quote of the day

“When we looked at this we found there weren’t enough readily available generators in the world for what would be needed”

A senior government figure talks to The Times about measures to keep the power on in Northern Ireland in a worst-case no-deal Brexit scenario

Video of the day

OFOC's Tessa Milligan explains why there can be no "green Brexit".


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Brexit deal deadline slipping

The EU is admitting publicly what many observers have long thought: the October deadline for clinching a Brexit deal is likely to slip. Michel Barnier said yesterday it could slip to “not later than the beginning of November”. This is despite the fact that the EU chief negotiator and Dominic Raab told reporters yesterday they will “negotiate continuously”. The Brexit secretary, who is displaying more energy than his predecessor David Davis, will be back in Brussels next week. But given that the two sides are far apart - particularly on how to keep the Irish border open - we are a long way from a deal. To get one, Theresa May is likely to make yet more concessions. Can she get that past her Brextremist backbenchers?

Video of the day 2

WATCH this from Sam Hickmott, a gardener from Bristol worried about Brexit's impact on his business.


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Tweet of the day 2

Comedian David Baddiel has picked out a great excerpt from Hugo Rifkind's column on Farage yesterday.


More Brexit news…

Travel industry bosses demand progress and a fresh Brexit referendum (Independent)

EU vows to get tough on UK’s market access after Brexit (FT £)

Legal sector warns growth could halve under ‘no deal’ Brexit(ITV)

EU residents will be secure if no Brexit deal says Raab (BBC)

Graphic of the day

For our Future's Sake has a message for shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner on how out of touch he is with Labour voters.


Top Brexit comment

David Hannay: No deal would be a huge geo-strategic mistake(InFacts)

Ben Chu: Surely Liam Fox must know his vision for post-Brexit Britain is delusional? (Independent)

Looking forward...

Today, Wednesday 22 August

- Parliament in recess
09:30 ONS: Construction sector statistics (inc. migrant workforce)

Tomorrow, Thursday 23 August

- Parliament in recess
- Government publishing first batch of no-deal "technical" documents
09:30 ONS: Migration statistics