As Theresa May triggers article 50, Bristol's Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has warned that Bristol and other cities in the South West should brace themselves for a post-Brexit exodus of those employed in finance and related sectors.
Dr Scott Cato says that other cities across Europe are ready to lure firms and their employees away from the UK as they face the instability and uncertainties that leaving the EU will bring .
“People tend to think of finance jobs as linked to the City but there are about 1.5 million finance jobs outside the British capital. The South West has many finance related jobs including back office jobs in Bristol and Bournemouth with around 37,000 of these jobs based in Bristol . The uncertainties over Brexit may push many firms to up sticks and move, and many EU countries are ready to receive them. Now that Article 50 has been triggered, the true extent of the Tories Brexit shambles will be exposed.”
More warnings for Bristol come from the recent Local Business Survey which has revealed that the government’s plan for Brexit receives only minority support among South West businesses . The survey of 419 SMEs in Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire, finds 57% of exporters believe the impact of leaving the single market will be ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’, compared with just 10% who think the impact will be ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’. A previous report revealed that Bristol is one of three cities in the South West topping the list of UK cities exporting to the EU .
Molly Scott Cato said:
“SMEs realise that leaving the single market will have a devastating impact on their businesses. This is particularly the case for Bristol and other cities in the South West that sell a high proportion of their exports to the EU. Businesses feel in a state of limbo, unclear about what the future holds and deeply concerned by potential tariffs and extra paperwork."
“Leaving the EU was meant to be about taking back control. For many businesses in the South West, they are losing control, and are at the whim of the Tory far-right and their obsession with pressing for a hard Brexit. It is clear businesses are also rapidly losing confidence in this government to deliver a Brexit that works in their interests.”