Public services under threat if Britain leaves the EU, warns Mayor of Lewisham

Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Lewisham’s Mayor Sir Steve Bullock has warned that if Brexit becomes a reality, it could have harmful consequences for council budgets and local businesses.

He said there was a real risk that London’s economy would be damaged if Britain were to leave the EU. Fewer resources and jobs are a potential threat to local councils, and in turn, their residents.

Bullock told Eastlondonlines: “That will mean lower tax revenues and our public services, including those provided by Councils and the NHS, will come under even greater pressure.”

In fact, this week Britain’s leading health professionals’ journal came out and said that they are backing to remain in the EU referendum considering “huge ramifications for health and society” should Britain leave.

Editors of the British Medical Journal said: “We realised that we could not name one prominent national medical, research, or health organisation that has sided with ‘Brexit’”.

Earlier this year more than 60 Labour council leaders across the country, including Bullock, signed an open letter detailing how leaving the EU would affect and harm local public services.

Over the last few years, local councils have fought with budget cuts and they fear that breaking away from the EU will mean further struggles. “It is our communities that will be hardest hit”, the letter read.

But it isn’t just public services that will suffer, Bullock said London businesses were also under threat.

Being part of the EU has undeniable benefits for the country, but more importantly “it has made our city more successful”, he said.

Financially speaking, London is currently one of the most important cities in the world. This means it is an appealing place for businesses to base their headquarters and the Brexit debate involves worries about losing its status as a global financial centre.

Nick Hopkinson, chair of Liberal Democrat European Group told ELL that the country had better trade deals as part of the EU.

“[The UK] would have less weight in international trade negotiations with major global economies. The UK would be a less attractive destination for foreign investment as we are no longer part of the world’s largest market – the EU”, he said.

By leaving the EU, he means that we can expect fewer jobs and less funding for London.

Local businessman and founder of Croydon’s Tech City initiative Jonny Rose said that Brexit would limit trade, but he was optimistic things in Croydon would remain on an even keel no matter the result.

“While trade and access to talent will most likely be affected by Brexit, I doubt that it will substantially cripple UK tech enterprise. No matter the referendum’s outcome, I suspect it will be business as usual for Croydon’s – and the rest of the country’s – tech companies”, he said.

Despite mixed opinions about the future of business, Bullock said that leaving the EU would harm “almost every area of council work”. He hopes especially that young people realise why their vote is of significance.

“This vote is of huge importance to everyone, but young people in particular will be affected by the outcome for many years to come.”

He emphasised having a say in the referendum: “I would urge everyone to use their vote on the 23rd and to encourage friends and family to as well”, he said.


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