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Agenda item

BREXIT

Notice of the above Motion was given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13.

 

Councillor Simon Miller will move;

Councillor Rosalind Doré will second

 

On 23 June 2016, over 59% of residents in Waltham Forest voted to remain in the European Union.

 

This Council notes that:

  • The UK economy is now the slowest growing economy in Europe, reducing the prosperity of the UK and Borough residents – a report from the Centre for European Reform shows that the UK economy is already 2.5% smaller than it would have been had Remain won the referendum, equating to a £500million loss every week;
  • The Government impact report confirms that leaving the European Union will harm growth and prosperity and reduce GDP by between 1.5% and 9.5%;

·         Businesses within the UK are cutting or delaying investment in new production and new jobs while they await the Brexit deal. In Waltham Forest, the number of businesses dropped by 130 (-1.2%) from last year, reversing the trend of strong business growth seen in previous years;

 

  • Both private business and public-sector organisations such as the NHS are facing labour and supply shortages leading to the Government stockpiling goods;
  • Inflation caused by Brexit-related depreciation of the pound is driving up living costs for the poorest residents in this Borough and further squeezing living standards;
  • Austerity continues to reduce funding for the public sector, further restricting their capacity to respond to shocks to our economy and limiting services for the most disadvantaged in our society;

 

  • The long-term prospects for the City of London remaining the most significant finance centre in the world have been undermined – ONS figures show that the City of London has seen a drop in growth by -3.4% this year.

 

This Council also notes that the ‘Chequers Deal’ issued on 6 July 2018 (the closest indication yet of what a final deal might look like, and one that has already been rejected by the European Union), has managed to alienate both Remainers and Brexiters alike, and that results from a BBC poll in July 2018 said that 71% of people disapprove of how Brexit negotiations have been handled by the Government.

 

This Council believes that:

As Liam Fox has stated, it now seems unlikely that the Government will be able to negotiate a deal and that the UK will be exiting the European Union without any formal agreement on the type of relationship we will have with our closest trading partner and ally.

 

Leaving the European Union without reasonable arrangements having been made will cause serious long-term harm to the UK economy and to our borough – jeopardising jobs, incomes and opportunities. It will also put at risk many environmental protections and multi-agency cooperation, which require close international collaboration in order to be effective.

No one voted to be poorer. No one voted to put their job at risk.

The British public were lied to by the Leave Campaign, who broke election law and peddled false ideologically-led promises without any alternative plan in place. 

 

The referendum result is not a fixed, immovable thing that can never change irrespective of the facts that are brought to the public’s attention. The British public should have the right to weigh their options when a deal has or has not been negotiated and determine whether or not exiting the European Union is in their best interest.

 

This Council calls on the Government to:

  • Give the British people a vote on whatever deal is negotiated, which includes an option to remain in the European Union. The public should be given a final say on the most important decision to affect this country in decades, in full knowledge of the facts.

Minutes:

Notice of the above Motion was given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13.

 

It was moved by Councillor Miller, seconded by Councillor Doré that:

 

On 23 June 2016, over 59% of residents in Waltham Forest voted to remain in the European Union.

 

This Council notes that:

·                     The UK economy is now the slowest growing economy in Europe, reducing the prosperity of the UK and Borough residents – a report from the Centre for European Reform shows that the UK economy is already 2.5% smaller than it would have been had Remain won the referendum, equating to a £500million loss every week;

·                     The Government impact report confirms that leaving the European Union will harm growth and prosperity and reduce GDP by between 1.5% and 9.5%;

·                     Businesses within the UK are cutting or delaying investment in new production and new jobs while they await the Brexit deal. In Waltham Forest, the number of businesses dropped by 130

(-1.2%) from last year, reversing the trend of strong business growth seen in previous years;

 

·                     Both private business and public-sector organisations such as the NHS are facing labour and supply shortages leading to the Government stockpiling goods;

·                     Inflation caused by Brexit-related depreciation of the pound is driving up living costs for the poorest residents in this Borough and further squeezing living standards;

·                     Austerity continues to reduce funding for the public sector, further restricting their capacity to respond to shocks to our economy and limiting services for the most disadvantaged in our society;

 

·                     The long-term prospects for the City of London remaining the most significant finance centre in the world have been undermined – ONS figures show that the City of London has seen a drop in growth by -3.4% this year.

 

This Council also notes that the ‘Chequers Deal’ issued on 6 July 2018 (the closest indication yet of what a final deal might look like, and one that has already been rejected by the European Union), has managed to alienate both Remainers and Brexiters alike, and that results from a BBC poll in July 2018 said that 71% of people disapprove of how Brexit negotiations have been handled by the Government.

 

This Council believes that:

As Liam Fox has stated, it now seems unlikely that the Government will be able to negotiate a deal and that the UK will be exiting the European Union without any formal agreement on the type of relationship we will have with our closest trading partner and ally.

 

Leaving the European Union without reasonable arrangements having been made will cause serious long-term harm to the UK economy and to our borough – jeopardising jobs, incomes and opportunities. It will also put at risk many environmental protections and multi-agency cooperation, which require close international collaboration in order to be effective.

 

No one voted to be poorer. No one voted to put their job at risk.

The British public were lied to by the Leave Campaign, who broke election law and peddled false ideologically-led promises without any alternative plan in place. 

 

The referendum result is not a fixed, immovable thing that can never change irrespective of the facts that are brought to the public’s attention. The British public should have the right to weigh their options when a deal has or has not been negotiated and determine whether or not exiting the European Union is in their best interest.

 

This Council calls on the Government to:

·      Give the British people a vote on whatever deal is negotiated, which includes an option to remain in the European Union. The public should be given a final say on the most important decision to affect this country in decades, in full knowledge of the facts.

 

It was then moved by Councillor Siggers, seconded by Councillor James, as an amendment to the Motion above that:

On 23 June 2016, over 59% of residents in Waltham Forest voted to remain in the European Union while 52% of the British electorate voted to leave.

 

This Council notes that:

Both the Labour and Conservative Party manifestos at the general election promised to respect the referendum result.

 

Despite the predictions of the Treasury that either, GDP would be 3.6 per cent lower after two years (compared with if the country had voted to remain), the pound would fall by 12 per cent and unemployment would rise by 520,000 or GDP would be six per cent lower, the pound would fall by 15 per cent and unemployment would rise by 820,000 and that it was likely to be even worse than both those scenarios:

 

·         the UK economy has continued to grow and is predicted to continue growing

·         employment is at record levels with over half a million more in employment than in June 2016.

·         Youth unemployment is at its lowest levels since 1992.

·         Wages are rising.

·         Exports are up by 5.5%

Similarly fears about the financial sector have not happened either. Recent estimates suggest that finance may lose 20,000 to 25,000 jobs out of the 1.1 million strong workforce in the UK with only an estimated 5,000 departing by March 2019. Deutsche Bank once estimated it would move 4,000 jobs, but now expects only 200 to leave. Goldman Sachs lowered its estimate from 1,000 to 500. Yet between June 2016 and December 2017, total employment in this industry rose by 12,000 workers, a 1.1 per cent increase.

 

This Council believes that:

 

The referendum was the largest democratic exercise this country has ever undergone. To deny its legitimacy or frustrate its result threatens public trust in our democracy.

 

Despite the British Government trying to produce an acceptable third way, the EU is still only offering the British people two options.

 

·         The first option would involve the UK staying in the European Economic Area and a customs union with the EU. This would mean we’d still have to abide by all the EU rules, uncontrolled immigration from the EU would continue and we couldn’t do the trade deals we want with other countries. That would make a mockery of the referendum we had two years ago.

·         The second option would be a basic free trade agreement for Great Britain that would introduce checks at the Great Britain/EU border.  But even worse, Northern Ireland would effectively remain in the Customs Union and parts of the Single Market, permanently separated economically from the rest of the UK by a border down the Irish Sea. Our Parliament has already, unanimously, rejected this idea.

Anything which fails to respect the referendum or which effectively divides our country in two would be a bad deal for Britain and should be rejected.

 

 

This Council calls on:

·         the Labour and Conservative parties to respect their manifesto commitments on the referendum and calls upon the Government to continue to fight for the best deal for Britain while respecting the referendum result and the integrity of the United Kingdom.

 

There was debate, which Councillors Miller, Doré, Baptiste, Bellamy and U Ali spoke in favour of the motion noting that:

(a)    recent polls suggested that public opinion had changed since the 2016 referendum and that the public deserve a say on the Brexit final deal;

(b)   81 percent of young people had said that they wished for the UK to remain in the EU. Many did not have a voice in the 2016 referendum and would be affected by an outcome they had no say in;

(c)    Brexit would have a negative impact on the creative sector, which is vital to the economy. There would be a gap in funding for the arts, previously provided for by the EU, and this could lead to increased pressure on creative subjects in schools which contribute to a rounded education;

(d)   freedom of movement in the EU is vital to the arts to attract talent from other EU countries;

(e)   Brexit would create a shortage of skilled workers, nurses and teachers, each of these industries were beginning to feel the effects of this;

(f)     there had been no agreement so far on the Irish border, and this was raising concerns about division if an agreement is not reached;

(g)    with the increasing possibility of a “No Deal” situation, it could cause chaos to businesses in the UK;

(h)   Brexit would harm the British economy and the uncertainty created from the referendum result had already started making our currency weaker;

(i)      the EU provides services to 80 percent of the UK market: to leave would have a destabilising effect on the economy. This would make residents worse off, creating job uncertainty and increased poverty and inequality, leaving many unable to afford necessities such as school uniforms;

(j)     Brexit and the cost of the process, compounded with government cuts would affect the NHS;

(k)    It appeared that the “Leave” campaign had not given the public all the facts, claiming that the negotiation process would be simple.

 

Councillors Siggers, James, Moss, A Hemsted and Halebi spoke in favour of the amendment noting that:

·         the European Union Referendum Act 2015 had been scrutinised and agreed in both Houses of Parliament, given Royal Assent and the Act had set out the terms of Brexit;

·         the referendum vote was two options, leave or remain; the vote did not ask supplementary questions on the process;

·         this was the largest democratic exercise in the UK with over 30 million voters, 52 percent voted to leave the EU and the Council had a solemn obligation to follow the democratic decision of the public;

·         the referendum result was a UK-wide decision, not one solely made in Waltham Forest;

·         both the Labour and the Conservative parties had promised to respect the result of the referendum, so the Council should respect the result;

·         that the motion was not a relevant local authority issue, and that it was a wasted motion, deflecting from serious local issues and creating further division amongst residents; 

·         amidst the claims from the ‘Remain’ campaign, who said that a ‘Leave’ vote would cause a depression, the UK had seen increased economic growth and investment and the budget deficit had nearly been cleared;

·         that, while the value of the pound had fallen, it was still higher than the euro. The UK was benefitting from an increase in exports due to the weaker pound and that the slower growth of the economy was being caused by political instability, and not the result of the referendum;

·         that a “People’s Vote” had happened: it was the EU referendum in 2016, and the Council is expected to follow through with that result as well;

·         that earnings continued to rise, youth unemployment was at its lowest since 1992 and inflation had been at 2.7%; further dismissing the claims that leaving the EU would damage the economy;

·         that there had been an increase in foreign investment in the UK and a number of businesses had been moving into London.  According to the media the UK had become the most attractive place for investment compared to the other G7 nations;

 

Following debate, a recorded vote was held in accordance with Paragraph 18.4 of Council Procedure Rules.

 

Vote on the amendment in the names of Councillor Siggers and James.

 

For the Amendment

Councillors: Berg, Best, Fitzgerald, Goldie, Halebi, A. Hemsted, J. Hemsted, Isa, James, Moss, Saumarez, Seesunkur, Siggers and Walker.

 

Against the Amendment

Councillors: Ahmad, L Ali, U Ali, M Asghar, N Asghar, Baptiste, Bell, Bellamy, Berberi, Coghill. Connor, Dhedhi, Doré, Douglas, J Edwards, Flowers, Gray,

A Khan, J Khan, Lacey-Holland, Limbajee, Loakes, Lyons, Mahmood, Mahmud, Mbachu, Miller, Mitchell, O’Dea, Osho, Rayner, Rehman, Robbins, Strathern, Sweden, te Velde, Terry and Williams.

 

Abstentions

None.

 

As a result of voting the Mayor declared the amendment in the names of Councillor Siggers and James LOST.

 

Vote on the substantive motion in the names of Councillor Miller and Doré.

 

For the Motion

Councillors: Ahmad, L Ali, U Ali, M Asghar, N Asghar, Baptiste, Bell, Bellamy, Berberi, Coghill, Connor, Dhedhi, Doré, Douglas, J Edwards, Flowers, Gray,

A Khan, J Khan, Lacey-Holland, Limbajee, Loakes, Lyons, Mahmood, Mahmud, Mbachu, Miller, Mitchell, O’Dea, Osho, Rayner, Rehman, Robbins, Strathern, Sweden, te Velde, Terry and Williams.

 

Against the Motion

Councillors: Berg, Best, Fitzgerald, Goldie, Halebi, A Hemsted, J Hemsted, Isa, James, Moss, Saumarez, Seesunkur, Siggers and Walker.

 

Abstentions

None.

 

As a result of voting the Mayor declared the motion in the names of Councillor Miller and Doré CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED that:

 

This Council notes that:

·         The UK economy is now the slowest growing economy in Europe, reducing the prosperity of the UK and Borough residents – a report from the Centre for European Reform shows that the UK economy is already 2.5% smaller than it would have been had Remain won the referendum, equating to a £500million loss every week;

·         The Government impact report confirms that leaving the European Union will harm growth and prosperity and reduce GDP by between 1.5% and 9.5%;

·         Businesses within the UK are cutting or delaying investment in new production and new jobs while they await the Brexit deal. In Waltham Forest, the number of businesses dropped by 130 (-1.2%) from last year, reversing the trend of strong business growth seen in previous years;

 

·         Both private business and public-sector organisations such as the NHS are facing labour and supply shortages leading to the Government stockpiling goods;

·         Inflation caused by Brexit-related depreciation of the pound is driving up living costs for the poorest residents in this Borough and further squeezing living standards;

·         Austerity continues to reduce funding for the public sector, further restricting their capacity to respond to shocks to our economy and limiting services for the most disadvantaged in our society;

 

·         The long-term prospects for the City of London remaining the most significant finance centre in the world have been undermined – ONS figures show that the City of London has seen a drop in growth by -3.4% this year.

 

This Council also noted that the ‘Chequers Deal’ issued on 6 July 2018 (the closest indication yet of what a final deal might look like, and one that has already been rejected by the European Union), has managed to alienate both Remainers and Brexiters alike, and that results from a BBC poll in July 2018 said that 71% of people disapprove of how Brexit negotiations have been handled by the Government.

 

This Council believes that:

As Liam Fox has stated, it now seems unlikely that the Government will be able to negotiate a deal and that the UK will be exiting the European Union without any formal agreement on the type of relationship we will have with our closest trading partner and ally.

 

Leaving the European Union without reasonable arrangements having been made will cause serious long-term harm to the UK economy and to our borough – jeopardising jobs, incomes and opportunities. It will also put at risk many environmental protections and multi-agency cooperation, which require close international collaboration in order to be effective.

 

No one voted to be poorer. No one voted to put their job at risk.

The British public were lied to by the Leave Campaign, who broke election law and peddled false ideologically-led promises without any alternative plan in place. 

 

The referendum result is not a fixed, immovable thing that can never change irrespective of the facts that are brought to the public’s attention. The British public should have the right to weigh their options when a deal has or has not been negotiated and determine whether or not exiting the European Union is in their best interest.

 

This Council calls on the Government to:

Give the British people a vote on whatever deal is negotiated, which includes an option to remain in the European Union. The public should be given a final say on the most important decision to affect this country in decades, in full knowledge of the facts.