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10-Point Plan Revealed to Protect Cardiff in a Post-Brexit World

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A ten-point plan to protect Cardiff’s economy, residents and public services in a post-BREXIT world has been revealed.

The plan, commissioned and endorsed by the Cardiff Public Services Board (CPSB), also highlights the effect leaving the European Union could have on the city’s people, its universities, its economy, its NHS, and on the funding deficit Cardiff will face once BREXIT takes place.

Leader of the City of Cardiff Council, and Chair of the CPSB, Cllr Phil Bale, said:

“As we edge ever closer to the signing of Article 50, which will trigger the beginning of our exit from the EU, we wanted the people of Cardiff to be aware of what might lie ahead.

“We also wanted to be clear about what needs to be done if the city is to continue to prosper. We have made tremendous headway in Cardiff over the past few years and we mustn’t allow BREXIT to halt that. We can’t sleepwalk into this and that’s why we are publishing this paper and calling on Government to take note of our proposals.”

The report ‘BREXIT Implications for Cardiff’ puts forward a 10-point plan which it says will help protect Cardiff from the impact of BREXIT, and will ensure the city is ready to take advantage of any opportunities leaving the EU creates.

The 10 points are:

1. Cardiff must be put at the heart of Wales’ post-Brexit economic strategy.
2. Access to the Single Market for goods, services and capital must be the UK Government’s priority for negotiation with the EU.
3. The rights of EU citizens living, working or studying in Cardiff must be guaranteed immediately and rights of UK citizens living in the EU to be similarly protected.
4. Future Visa requirements for workers recruited from the EU – particularly in the Health and Higher Education Sectors – must be clarified quickly, and that the status of EU students – including clarity on visa requirements and access to financial support and fees for students looking to begin their studies in Cardiff in 2018/19 and 2019/20 – is secured.
5. Training provision must be radically enhanced for sectors most reliant on EU workers to ensure recruitment needs can be met in the future.
6. Access to European Research Funding for the city’s universities must be maintained or enhanced, or – at the very least – replaced with an alternative.
7. Access to programmes which allow staff and students to work study and undertake other learning experiences abroad must continue. If UK Government does not secure this then a specific mobility programme for Welsh students should be explored by Welsh Government.
8. Enhancement of the current levels of EU funding for Wales, with at least £330m a year to be spent on the priorities of the Cardiff Capital Region, complementing the Cardiff City Deal.
9. There must be no rolling back of employment rights and other protections for workers, or the protections for our natural environment which have been secured through our membership of the EU.
10. Cardiff must maintain its success as an international city by continuing to attract international investment, trade, students and major events by developing an international strategy for the city, and for the capital city to be placed at the heart of the Welsh Government’s new International Strategy for Wales.

Cllr Bale added:

“During the referendum campaign, commitments were made that Wales would not be worse off financially if the UK left the EU. It is therefore crucial that future funding arrangements honour this promise. We can’t let Cardiff fall behind. The city is the economic engine of Wales. If Cardiff fails then Wales fails too.”

The report also highlights the impact leaving the European Union could have on five key city elements. These are:

  • Economy: Cardiff and Wales’ economy benefits substantially from being in the European Union Single Market. Two Thirds of Welsh exports and 61% of Cardiff exports go to EU countries, placing Cardiff in the top 5 British cities most reliant on EU markets.
  • Healthcare and the NHS: The city’s health service is reliant on doctors, nurses and other health professionals from across the world, with many coming from the EU. The University Health Board – and the NHS in general – will have a continuing need to recruit staff. BREXIT must not make this harder.
  • Universities: Almost 3,000 students in the city region are from the EU – nearly 4% of the total student population. At Cardiff University, nearly one in five students take part in international exchanges and one in six staff are EU nationals. Securing future access to EU research funding is worth in excess of £10m per annum to Cardiff University alone.
  • European Funding: Between 2007 and 2013, more than £1.3bn of EU funding was spent in the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR). Wales has benefited from EU funding and currently receives around £680m annually. Between 2007 and 2013, more than £1.3bn of EU funding was spent in the CCR. Losing this funding will have a huge impact across the piece.
  • People: According to census figures there were 13,414 (non-UK) EU born residents in Cardiff in 2011 – around 4% of the total population. The uncertainty of BREXIT is causing anxiety about their futures in the UK.

Cllr Bale said:

“The potential impact on Cardiff is clear from our people to our businesses, from our health service and our education sector to our economy. Nothing will escape. We must not forget that Cardiff voted to remain in the EU. I think people in Cardiff understood the value of being in the EU. In our city alone, EU funding has supported the creation of nearly 4,000 jobs, helped 4,500 people back into work and supported the creation of more than 1,000 businesses. The city needs a plan which enables it to capitalise on any opportunities BREXIT creates while recognising the potential pitfalls which could seriously damage our ambitions for Cardiff.”

Professor Nora de Leeuw, Pro Vice-Chancellor, International and Europe, Cardiff University, said:

“Brexit presents a series of challenges for all UK universities. The ten-point plan for a post-Brexit Cardiff is a welcome step towards continued engagement with the European Union. EU partnerships and collaborations are critical for the capital’s economy. We attract brilliant students and researchers from Europe, who in turn attract funding to the city. We are committed to building collaborative networks and opportunities for student and staff exchange across Europe. Cardiff University is a globally connected institution, and we will continue to welcome students and staff from all over the world.”

Cardiff and Vale Health Board’s Chair Maria Battle said:

“At Cardiff and Vale Health Board we value our staff and their outstanding contribution and commitment to care for people and keep them well. It’s important to remember this particularly when we are looking at recruiting and retaining staff, including staff within the EU.”