3 Major Things Just Happened With Brexit That You Need to Know About
There are a lot of talking points from the past 24 hours.
It's been a big couple of days for Brexit plans and, let’s be honest, it’s difficult to keep track of all the ‘to-ings and fro-ings’.
Here's a handy list of everything that you need to know.
1. Free UK-EU Movement Will ‘End in March 2019’
The UK’s immigration minister Brandon Lewis has claimed that a new system will be introduced by March 2019 that will spell the end for free movement between the UK and the EU.
He appeared to contradict recent reports that the government would continue to allow freedom of movement during a transitional period of three or four years.
"Free movement of labour ends when we leave the European Union in the spring of 2019. I’ll be very clear about that,” Lewis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.
"Obviously, there’s a period of negotiation we’re going through with the European Union at the moment. But we’re very clear that free movement ends.”
People in both the UK and the EU are desperate to know what UK-EU migration will look like in the future, including UK expats living in the EU, EU expats living in the UK, and businesses.
But ministers have so far been reluctant to give anything away, leaving these people in limbo.
Lewis today wouldn’t confirm details about how the government plans to manage migration following Brexit.
He said the details would be revealed later this year, and that the immigration bill would go through Parliament in 2018.
2. Top 10 UK Cities To Be Worst Hit by Brexit Are Named
Experts today named the UK cities that will be most and least affected economically by Brexit, with Aberdeen topping the chart.
Worthing and Reading made up the top three, according to the report released by the London School of Economics’ Centre for Cities.
Other cities named in the top 10 include Edinburgh, London, Leeds, and Ipswich. Meanwhile, Crawley, Barnsley and Burnley are predicted to be the least affected.
"Every local authority area is predicted to be negatively affected,” the report highlights, “but cities are likely to be hit harder than non-urban areas.”
The report measures the decrease in the economic output of local authority areas as a result of Brexit, measured by Gross Value Added (GVA).
All British cities are set to be negatively affected as a result of higher trade costs between the UK and the EU. However, cities with large shares of employment in private-sector knowledge-intensive services (KIBS) — largely in the south — are predicted to be worst hit.
The report says this is “unsurprising” given that business and financial services — two of the largest knowledge-intensive sectors — will be among the sectors most affected by a hard Brexit.
In a comparison of a hard Brexit and a soft Brexit, the impacts are predicted to be more negative under a hard Brexit in every local authority area, as the increase in trade costs would be larger.
3. Major New Report Into EU Migration
The government has also announced a major report, commissioned into the costs and benefits of EU migrants.
The report will look at which sectors depend most on EU labour; the economic and social costs and benefits of EU migration to the UK; the possible impact of reduced EU migration and the ways that businesses and the government can adjust to the change.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “Our new immigration system will give us control of the volume of people coming here — giving the public confidence we are applying our own rules on who we want to come to the UK and helping us to bring down net migration to sustainable levels.”
However, the deadline for the report has been set for September 2018 — just six months before the UK is supposed to leave the EU.
Critics say it is a year too late, and Labour insists there should be no changes to the UK’s migration system until the report has been completed and thoroughly scrutinised.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey added that the report would “do nothing to reassure the hospitals that are already seeing record numbers of EU nurses leaving, or the companies struggling to recruit the staff they need”.
He said: “The NHS, businesses and universities that depend on European citizens need answers now, not in another 14 months’ time.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, currently in Australia, caused some confusion when he admitted that he had no idea the government had commissioned the EU migration report.
He said: “I haven’t seen the study you talk of because I’ve been here in Australia for the last couple of days and travelling for the last week, but all I can give you is my own views about the value of immigration and the value of having an open approach to it.
But he added, “that doesn’t mean that you can’t control it”.