Brexit preparations vital for these interesting times

Posted On 16 Dec 2018 at 10:12 am

“May you live in interesting times.” A statement of hope or a curse perhaps?

Whatever the meaning and source of this phrase, the irony is not lost on me each and every day as I think about the challenges ahead for the city and for the city council.

This week alone the combined “interesting” issues include a whole range of items – many of which are made more complex by the massive ongoing political and international upheaval.

Whether it’s the job of balancing the city council budget, making progress on significant redevelopment schemes such as Churchill Square, the King Alfred and Black Rock, waiting with baited breath for announcements on government funding for the city’s services, legal rulings over the licensing of Uber or for news of our bid for Lottery funding for Madeira Terraces, there is rarely a let-up in the hard work of trying to make our city a better place.

Meanwhile, outside of the city there is significant turmoil in Westminster and across our world.

The ongoing impact of the global economic crisis and our own Brexit vote shouldn’t be seen as things that are only creating challenges outside of the city’s bubble.

We have seen important announcements for our city’s future funding deferred by the Brexit stalemate in Westminster – and I can only hope that for the sake of all of us here in Brighton and Hove that a sensible, deliverable and pragmatic way out of the mess is found.

Latest research suggests that 4,000 jobs across the city would be lost by a no-deal Brexit, and this level of economic impact would see many residents facing greater hardship and needing additional support.

It doesn’t bear thinking about that we could in all good conscience condemn 4,000 of our own neighbours to such a fate.

Here in the city we are making preparations to better understand the potential impacts of a final Brexit decision on our residents, their jobs and our economy.

Although we are not able to fully predict the decisions that will come from Westminster or from the European Union, it’s better to prepare than to bury our heads in the sand.

I’m hoping for some progress or maybe even less interesting times next week – but I’m not holding my breath.

Councillor Daniel Yates is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

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