Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Brexit Secretary met North East England Chamber of Commerce members in Sunderland today, 13 September 2019, to hear their views on leaving the E.U.
He said: “We have a number of routes open to us at the moment but none of them are straight forward. The views I hear from businesses is that they want to stay close to Europe economically.
“It is so frustrating that we are having to spend all this time discussing Brexit when there are so many major issues we need to tackle, such as investment in infrastructure, the NHS and social care.”
James Ramsbotham, Chamber chief executive said: “We are very grateful to Sir Keir Starmer making time to hear our members’ views on Brexit and business conditions in the North East. Our view is that we want a Brexit outcome that preserves our trading relationship with the EU.”
Among the views put forward at the meeting were the importance of getting certainty on trading conditions as soon as possible, clarifying EU workers rights and support to stop the drain of skilled workers to London and the South East. There was also concern about the impact on leaving the EU on the number of overseas students coming to the region’s Universities.
There was also discussion of infrastructure funding with praise for the Chamber’s campaign to upgrade the East Coast Mainline.
Sir Keir Starmer agreed that the north needed a better rail network both north and south and east and west.