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Lib Dems call for Surrey County Council to Protect Europeans from Brexit

January 18, 2019 5:33 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Will Forster HeadshotLib Dem County Councillor Will Forster has today called on Surrey County Council to support European Union (EU) nationals living locally from the damaging effects of Brexit.

Before Christmas, the Government announced that EU citizens would have to apply and pay for 'settled status' post-Brexit, causing fears that some European workers will leave the UK post Brexit. Surrey County Council, like other local authorities, relies on EU nationals to fill key jobs especially in the social care sector.

Therefore, Will Forster and the Lib Dems have called on the County Council to protect EU nationals by paying the settled status fees of all of its EU staff.

Lib Dem County Councillor for Woking South, Will Forster, said:
"Although Theresa May's Brexit deal was recently rejected in Parliament by a record 230 votes, Brexit is still a huge threat, especially to Surrey County Council's social care system which relies on staff from Europe. Brexit and the Government's settled status plan for EU nationals marks it more difficult for local authorities to hire and keep much-needed staff.
I urge Surrey County Council to commit right now to support its European staff by paying their settled status fees, and helping them with the paper work if needs be too. EU nationals do an invaluable job, they keep key services going, but the Council must back them now or it risks losing staff as a result of Brexit and a 'hostile environment' to immigration. "

Will Forster has also asked the Council's ruling Cabinet to automatically apply for the settled status of any children in its care, following agreement from the Home Office to waive the application fee for children in local authority care, though not the application process itself.

Councillor Forster added:
"I cannot believe the heartlessness and stupidity from the Conservative Government to make some of the most vulnerable members of society, children in care, complete such complicated paperwork. Although I hope the Home Office automatically gives settled status to the very few European nationals that are in care, I hope Surrey Council agrees to complete the application for any child in care."