Should the Brexit Impact Reports Be Kept Secret by the Government?

March 8, 2018 12:07 PM
By Cllr Lucy Care

Whether wanting to buy a rail ticket, renew your car insurance or buy home energy, life can be so complex that there are now websites around to help with what used to be a simple task.

In hindsight it is therefore not surprising that leaving the EU is turning out to be a lot more complex that was being suggested by Leave campaigners. And the Government has set up - and staffed - a department to guide us through this process.

One of the things these - probably highly paid - officials have done is write a serious of reports on the impact - and hopefully opportunities - of Brexit. They've been talked about for months, but details have been lacking

We know that other countries have been doing the same. The Netherlands and Ireland will be impacted hardest by the UK leaving the EU. We have most trade with them, and they are sharing this advice so that councils and businesses in their areas can prepare for change.

The impact on the UK will be greater still, but our ability to adapt and prepare is being hampered by the Government's reluctance to share their - publicly funded - research.

Derby, like other areas, is becoming aware of changes. We know that there will be impacts. In or out of Euratom will make a difference to Rolls-Royce and to the Royal Derby Hospital. Just-in-time manufacturing at Toyota and others will become more challenging.

Businesses are considering the impacts on their sectors. East Midlands Airport, Rolls-Royce and Bombardier are apparently all lobbying behind the scenes for their sectors. Almost every day now we are hearing of changes being planned as business adapts. This week Airbus reported considering pulling out of Britain with a threat of 100,000 jobs being lost directly and indirectly.

Derby is not alone in this situation. Every city, every region, will be impacted by changes. We clearly need to prepare.

We've been told there should be new opportunities to grab, though personally I'm struggling to see them. If they are real, though, we need to know so we can act and ensure that Derby gains a fair share of any opportunities.

Scotland and Wales have been given access to the Government research through the members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. England doesn't have this level of democracy. Councillors from authorities like Derby come next. It therefore seems only right that councillors should therefore have access to this research too.

We all need as much information as possible to enable us to do the best we can at this time of change. Ideally the information should be available to all, but give the Government's reluctance to do this, I'm calling for this research to at least be made available to our locally elected councillors so we can best help our communities through Brexit.