Deal or no-deal

Haringey Council prepares for Brexit

By Luchia Robinson

Credit: Stephen Furner

Haringey Council has put Brexit plans into action in preparation for Britain’s exit from the European Union at the end of the month.

The council has identified 14 main risks that a no-deal Brexit poses to the borough, including possibilities of hate crime and disorder, the potential disruption to food and fuel supply, and the effect on utilities and other essential services.

Brexit is also expected to have an economic impact upon Haringey’s businesses.

The council says it is planning a series of advice sessions for local businesses owners, in the coming weeks, in conjunction with the Greater London Authority and other partners to deal with this.

Haringey Council’s initial Brexit planning at the end of last year was focused on the likelihood of a deal being reached; however, contingency planning was run in parallel as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit increased.

Last month, local organisation, Haringey Welcome submitted a petition to the European Parliament outlining concerns for the rights of migrants,refugees and asylum seekers should a no-deal Brexit go ahead.

The campaign organisation raised the issue of family reunification in the UK, which will not be allowed after the October 31st Brexit deadline, being an infringement of human rights.

The impact of Brexit is likely to be felt most harshly by the least well- off households in the borough. A no-deal Brexit is predicted to affect citizens’ employment status, rights, and access to public services.

The council has received guidance from the London Resilience Forum, looking into a range of these possible impacts, which include citizens’ eligibility for various forms of support, issues relating to health and social care, and consequences for businesses and key elements of the workforce.

It has set aside a reserve of funds (received from the Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme Grant) towards dealing with unexpected pressures from Brexit.

EU citizens living in the borough are being advised to apply for settled status, via the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), should they wish to remain in the UK beyond Brexit.

To date over 15,000 (35%) of the 42,000 non-British and Irish EU citizens living in Haringey have obtained either settled (granted to applicants with proof of five years of continuous residency in the UK) or pre-settled status (granted to those who have lived in the UK for less than five years).

Alfred Jahn, a sales manager from Seven Sisters ward said: “I have been living in London for 18 years now. I still have my Austrian passport; so far, this has not been an issue and I haven’t spent too much time even thinking about it.

“Whether it’s a no-deal Brexit, soft Brexit, hard Brexit– it doesn’t make a difference to me. The country I have been living in for the last 18 years has turned around and slapped me in the face.”

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council, said: “We are immensely proud of Haringey’s diversity and to be home to 42,000 EU citizens.

“Haringey Council is firmly opposed to a no-deal Brexit, which the council believes will be damaging to the country; creating instability and uncertainty for people and businesses alike.

“We are committed to making thorough preparations to mitigate its effects on our residents. We value the contribution EU citizens make to Haringey life. We will work hard to support them and ensure that they continue to feel welcome, safe and at home in Haringey.”