My Local Brexit – Cllr Mike Rowley

John says: “This summer I’m featuring a series of guest blogs from Labour councillors around the region who have been kind enough to write short pieces on how they see Brexit affecting the area they represent.”

Mike Rowley (pictured above – third from the right – green t-shirt – at the launch of Labour’s local manifesto) is Labour’s Portfolio Holder for Housing on Oxford City Council has been an enthusiastic campaigner for Labour candidates around the Thames Valley. He represents Sandhills and North-East Headington

Mike writes:

Brexit is a particular concern for Oxford as our City has one of the largest European communities in Britain (more than one in eight of our citizens).  EU nationals work in our car industry, our innovative high-tech sector, our Universities, and above all our NHS hospitals which are centres of excellence for the whole South of England.

Across Britain, one in nine NHS employees is an EU national; in Oxford that figure is two out of nine.  Our NHS hospitals, already struggling to attract vital staff because of the high cost of living here, face potential disaster if those workers are not allowed to stay one and all.

As a Council, the biggest impact so far – and one that will only increase given the uncertainty of the Government’s chaotic negotiations – is a chronic shortage of trained construction workers.  This is a national problem which has hit Oxford particulrly badly.  The Government’s much-vaunted house-building plans simply cannot be achieved in time for the people who desperatel;y need affordable homes without EU nationals.

In the longer term, we need a rational and balanced policy to ensure that Britain trains enough skilled workers to meet its needs – with a living wage for young workers, proper bursaries for student nurses, affordable housing for everyone including people who move for work, and many other measures joined into a well-thought-out plan for the future of our society and economy.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen nothing from this Government that would lead me to believe they’re capable of anything like that.  Instead, they present themselves more and more as a collection of brainless egos swirling down a hole of their own making, when any other Government would be going all-out to get us the best deal for our future relationship with the EU.

Councillor Mike Rowley
Barton, Sandhills and North-East Headington – Oxford City Council