You may be aware from previous Brexit Blogs that I have held a series of industry themed Brexit Roundtables in Norwich, which set out to seek the views of local industry leaders throughout the retail, science and digital & creative sectors.
Following these meetings, I wrote to the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union to put local industry’s views to him directly. I have since heard back from the Department for Exiting the EU and have included the full text of the letter I received below.
In the Minister’s response, she makes it immediately clear that in the industries where the UK and EU’s economies are closely linked, bold and imaginative thinking can deliver agreements that are in everyone’s interests. It will be exactly the same kind of thinking we have already seen to achieve progress in the negotiations, such as achieving agreement on the implementation period, citizens’ rights and the financial settlement framework.
A key concern across the retail, and other sectors I spoke to, was access to skilled workers. The minister discusses this in her response and makes it clear that the UK will not be pulling up the drawbridge once we have left the EU. The UK will always welcome those who want to come here to make our society and economy stronger.
A legitimate concern of the digital and creative sector is the impact of the UK leaving the EU on its Digital Single Market (DSM). The Prime Minister made it clear in her Mansion House speech that whilst the UK will not be part of the DSM, the Government recognises that in order to remain a world leader in this field, it will need to apply domestic flexibility to ensure the regulatory environment can respond quickly to new developments.
The science sector, of course, thrives on the free exchange of ideas across borders. So it is very encouraging to see that the Government intends to continue to collaborate with European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives. Let’s of course not forget that the UK collaborated with its European partners on scientific matters before we joined the EU and there is no reason to think arrangement will be any different once we have left.
The minister’s response underlines the hard work the Government is putting in to make sure that we achieve a Brexit deal that delivers for everyone – particularly for us here in Norwich. I will continue to discuss Brexit with other industry leaders and pass comments onto the Department, as it is my priority to make sure that our city’s voice is heard loud and clear in these negotiations so that more good jobs come to Norwich.