Impact of Exiting the European Union on London's Economy (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
January 16, 2020
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Andrew Dismore AM:  What is your message to EU citizens living in London who are concerned about their future post‑Brexit?  Is it not the case that the Government intends to introduce a points‑based immigration system primarily based on high rates of pay, and what impact do you think this will have on services and industries in London that rely on hard‑working EU citizens, for example the National Health Service (NHS), which is under tremendous strain?  University College London Hospital (UCLH) has 15% of its staff coming from other EU citizens, Royal Free Hospital 14% and Camden and Islington 13%.  As we all know, accident and emergency (A&E) waiting times are going through the roof.  The four‑hour target time was met in only 77% of cases at UCLH last month and 80% at Royal Free, yet we have seen the staffing shortages getting worse as people from the NHS either go home or do not arrive in the first place.

Answer

Impact of Exiting the European Union on London's Economy (Supplementary) [1]

Impact of Exiting the European Union on London's Economy (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You know this as well as I do because of your conversation with your constituents and others.  Even though we have not yet left the EU, we have already seen in the last two and a half to three years some of the consequences of the referendum vote.  It is the case that we have record numbers of vacancies in the NHS and social services.  I have talked about the social care issue with care workers.  Also, you will know how reliant we are in construction and hospitality on EU citizens.

 

A crude point system does not recognise the needs of our city.  For example, how many points would somebody working in restaurants and hotels receive, or social care, or some jobs in the NHS?  A significant part of London’s economy is the lower‑skilled workers as well.  I am going to carry on talking to the Government to persuade them.  The good news is that this Prime Minister is far less anti‑immigration than the last Prime Minister was.  She was clearly anti any form of immigration and recognising the benefits to our country.  This Prime Minister, when he was Mayor of London, talked about an amnesty, and so he understands the contribution made economically, socially and culturally.  My job is to persuade him to make sure any new system does not detriment our city.

 

Andrew Dismore AM:  Would you also agree that Brexit has created potential for an ever-deeper crisis if the 260,000 European national children and 96,000 European national young people living in the capital are not supported in applying to the EU Settlement Scheme or for citizenship?  It is the case, is it not, that the Conservative Government has not learned the lessons of the Windrush scandal that has caused such distress, loss, hardship or worse for those who came as children to the UK in the 1950s and 1960s?  Are they not creating the same conditions for EU child migrants of today?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Absolutely.  I raised this point last week when the research was done by the University of Wolverhampton about the numbers of Londoners who are undocumented and have not had their status regularised.  They are entitled, many of them, to apply for nationality, but it costs more than £1,000.  You will be aware of how much that deters people from applying. 

 

You saw what happened with the Windrush generation and their children.  At the moment, before the secured status kicks in at the end of December [2020] in relation to us properly leaving the EU and the end of transition, we have north of 500,000 Londoners who are not properly documented.  More than 100,000 are children.  They often only come across this when these children, who are born here, apply to university and discover that they are not home students. 

 

I am really concerned about the number of those who are undocumented and how that impacts them, but also, going forward, even if 10% do not their status sorted out that is more than 100,000 in London, many of them children.  I worry about the ability of the Home Office and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to deal with that, which is why I am lobbying the Government to make it far easier and far cheaper, but also to give advisers legal aid to give advice to these people who clearly need some assistance to regularise their status.

 

Andrew Dismore AM:  Thank you.