Burnham demands equal status with British Overseas Territories in ‘Brexit’ negotiations
Friday 7th July 2017 @ 12:07 by Nigel P.
Business Greater Manchester News Tameside

 

 

 

 

Britain’s Chief ‘Brexit’ negotiator David Davies M.P. Greater Manchester’s Mayor has written to him to demand  representation for the major English regions  in the ongoing negotiations to leave the European Union. 

 

Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham is demanding that the English Regions have a permanent seat at the ‘Brexit’ table to ensure the negotiations are not dominated by single interests like the City of London.

In a letter to Chief ‘Brexit’ negotiator, David Davies,Mr Burnham sets out several issues he would like to be addressed in terms of Greater Manchester’s future, post ‘Brexit’.

The Mayor for Greater Manchester’s starting point is that several territorial entities such as Gibraltar, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands (British Overseas Territories) as well as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland meet formally and regularly with the Government.

However Greater Manchester and other English Regions do not have that facility.

Burnham makes the point that the Cayman Islands,(BOT) with a lesser population than Bury and an area smaller than the Isle of Wight, will have more input over the Brexit negotiations than Greater Manchester, which has a population of 2.8 million people.

In a keynote speech at the Local Government Association, Mr. Burnham  called on the Government to establish a cabinet committee for metro mayors and the British regions and nations that will put Greater Manchester on an equal footing, and ensure all parts of the UK have their voices heard.

Addressng the meeting in Birmingham on Tuesday, Mr Burnham said “Brexit has major implications for Greater Manchester and the rest of the English regions. We must ensure that our interests are heard and protected.

If the Government fails to listen to our concerns it will raise fears that we are heading towards a London-centric Brexit dominated by the City of London and the financial services industry.

It cannot be right that Britain’s overseas territories, such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, have a permanent seat at the Brexit table whilst we are denied one. Greater Manchester is ready to play our part and make a constructive contribution to the process of leaving the European Union.

I am also concerned about the very real risk that Brexit will be dominated by the City of London and the financial sector. By giving a formal, meaningful, seat at the Brexit table to the regions we can ensure the needs and aspirations of all sections of our economy and society are represented.

That’s why I’ve written to Brexit Secretary David Davis to demand that we are given an equal footing and a permanent seat at the table.”

Sir Richard Leese, Deputy Mayor (portfolio lead for business and the economy) and Manchester City Council leader, added: “We need to ensure that our interests are protected, from our world-class academic university research facilities, to our manufacturing industries, our creative sector, and our voluntary and community sectors. We also need to send out the message that we are still an outward-looking international city where people of different backgrounds, including the European citizens who have based themselves here, feel welcome.”

In a letter to David Davies MP. Mr Burnham outlines several strategic points he identifies as critcal to Greater Manchester‘s future development and prosperity .

These include the formation of a place-based national industrial strategy; The continued expansion of Manchester Airport and government action to ensure that the UK has access to its €39 billion share of its holdings in the European Investment Bank.

If access to the bank is terminated then we sould ensure that the UK is able to take out it’s share of investment which it has paid into it in former years and then redistributed to the regions.

The letter proposes general continued harmonisation with EU standards in digital data, health, science and professional services.

The letter also requests a model for migration that seeks to both address many people’s concerns about free movement, while guaranteeing the rights of current EU Nationals and keeping the door open for continued migration for students and the needs of busiess and industry.

By putting in place transition arrangements for high and low skilled migrant workers so that current EU nationals living in the UK can remain and future EU migration is managed sustainably. Continued access to both high and low skilled migrant labour is particularly urgent for the sustainability of the health and social care system; Taking an open approach, with minimum levels of bureaucracy, to high-skilled immigration for workers from anywhere in the world; and

taking an open approach to short-term student immigration so that we can continue to support higher education as a key export market.

In the letter Mr Burnham, laments the delay in setting up a “promised” meeting between The ‘Brexit Department” and the newly elected Mayor’s of England’s Region’s which also includes the Liverpool City Region, The West Midlands and The Tees Valley.

So far there has been no public response to Mr Burnham’s letter from Mr Davies or his department.