An emergency council meeting has been called to discuss preparations for Brexit in Brighton and Hove.
The Greens formally called for the emergency meeting after the party’s local councillors met this morning (Monday 9 September).
Green group convenor Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “As the council’s own impact assessments make painfully clear, all forms of Brexit will harm our city.”
He called on the council to be open about contingency measures and said that residents “deserve to know that their elected representatives are taking the issues seriously”.
Brexit – Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) – is currently scheduled for Thursday 31 October although many MPs are pushing for an extension to the deadline.
The new Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged that Britain will leave by the end of next month, with or without a deal.
Concerns have been raised that a “no deal” Brexit could lead to delays at ports and airports, potentially leading to shortages of some foods, medicines and fuel.
Despite official assurances, the Brexit process has also led to uncertainty for Europeans working in Brighton and Hove in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, health and care and education.
About 20,000 people from EU countries other than Britain are believed to be living and working in Brighton and Hove.
Big employers such as American Express and the NHS, including the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, rely on a significant number of overseas staff.
The NHS trust that runs the Royal Sussex – Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals – has had a shortage of nursing and support staff for some years, including healthcare assistants.
The issue is also expected to affect care homes and home care agencies, with fewer staff available to provide vital care for elderly and disabled people.
And there are also worries about the effect on fee income for Brighton and Hove’s language schools and the city’s two universities.
Councillor Mac Cafferty has written to Brighton and Hove City Council chief executive Geoff Raw to ask for an extraordinary meeting of the full council to be held within seven days.
His party has drawn up a motion for debate which criticises Boris Johnson for trying to take steps that would reduce proper scrutiny of his Brexit plans.
The motion also urges the council to help local residents and businesses to understand how they can best prepare for Brexit.
Councillor Mac Cafferty praised the work of the Brighton and Hove Brexit Working Group but said that the public should be told what was happening.
The working group met less than a fortnight ago and is expected to meet next on Wednesday (11 September).
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