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Residents and business owners of all nationalities have been assured the Council stands ready to support them as the Government’s chaotic Brexit preparations raise concern for local authorities.

Answering a written question from the Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Michael Wilson, Richmond’s Cabinet Member for Equality, Communities and the Voluntary Sector outlined the steps being taken to ensure the borough is ready for Brexit.

Those include:

  • Writing to the borough’s adult social care providers to ensure they have Brexit readiness plans
  • Supporting the borough’s Hate Crime forum to deliver a community cohesion seminar
  • Ensuring the borough’s business community is equipped to deal with the challenges posed by Brexit by hosting workshops and seminars in 2018 and 2019.
  • Creating a new advice page for businesses on the Council’s website
  • Working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to raise our concerns about the Brexit process and attending workshops on Brexit preparedness.
  • Working with neighbouring boroughs and community partners on contingency planning and
  • Continually monitoring steps taking by other local authorities to ensure we are doing all we can to help our residents be prepared.

The Council has also been offering a European Passport Return Service (EPRS) for those EU residents applying for a registration certificate or a document certifying permanent residence.

Meanwhile, EU nationals living in the borough have been able to access advice and support through Richmond Citizens Advice Bureau including regular briefings held around the borough to give updates on the Brexit process.

Cllr Wilson said:

“We won’t be giving up fighting on behalf of the 70% of people in this borough who voted remain, the 11,000 registered EU citizens or the children of this borough who will be worse off as a result of either the Government’s botched Brexit negotiations or the no deal Brexit that some MPs seem so intent on pushing.

“As we approach the so-called exit date, the Council will support all those who believe the people should have a final say on the actual deal rather than the broken promises of the past two years.

“The fact that the Government has failed to adequately fund local authorities for their no-deal planning, and had to be dragged kicking and screaming to waive application fees for EU citizens looking to stay in the UK, should come as no surprise given its track record of mean-spirited funding decisions.

“Nevertheless, I want to reassure our residents, our businesses and our EU friends and neighbours that we are ramping up our support for them and will continue to fight for them as the Government’s chaotic policy drives us closer to the cliff-edge of no deal.”

EU citizens living in the borough who are unsure of their status and want to find out how they can secure their future in the UK should contact Citizens Advice Richmond.

— from a Richmond Council press release - 6 February 2019