Call comes amidst new council briefing that warns of significant food insecurity, fuel shortages and pressures on health and social care services
MK LABOUR has urged Milton Keynes’ two Conservative MPs to “put city and country before party” and to do everything they can to block a no-deal Brexit. The call was made after an internal briefing from Milton Keynes Council’s leadership warned of severe threats to food security, fuel shortages and health and social care services.
The briefing in particular highlights the risk of families running out of sufficient food and of food banks not having the capacity to address the shortfalls. It states that current insecurity of access to sufficient food for less well off people could be magnified under a no-deal Brexit. Tariffs on imports and any panic buying may hike up food prices, forcing even more people to rely on food banks. Simultaneously, food banks are likely to be less well equipped to respond, as they will likely receive fewer donations due to people being less able to donate food because of their own budgetary problems. The Milton Keynes Council briefing, seen by MK council deputy leader and MK South Labour parliamentary candidate Hannah O’Neill, brings home the reality of risks posed by a no-deal Brexit for MK residents.
In July, the Government’s own select committee on Exiting the EU concluded for the second time, that attempting a “managed no deal” cannot constitute the policy of any responsible Government. Its report, published on the 19th July 2019, highlighted that a “no deal” exit from the EU would be the most economically damaging outcome for the UK.
Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South and the council’s deputy leader, HANNAH O’NEILL, said:
“I am Milton Keynes through and through and like most people in our city I know lots of people who voted leave in good faith. But I know from the thousands of conversations I have had on Brexit that they did not vote for a no-deal that will risk their lives, livelihoods and health. The Labour-run council has prioritised funds to try to ease the pressure on food supplies but there is a limit to what we can do in the face of a catastrophic Tory no-deal Brexit, which would land on top of the already massive cuts that have been imposed on us by the government.
“So I say to Milton Keynes’ Conservative MPs – put our city and our country before the interests of your party. Join with Labour and other opposition MPs to stop a no-deal Brexit using whatever legal means necessary. If that means bringing down the government in a vote of no confidence and fighting a general election I promise that I will be the first person to commend your decision to do so.
“If you allow a no-deal Brexit to happen on your watch, you will be held directly responsible.”
Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes North, CHARLYNNE PULLEN, said:
“When the Brexit select committee reports that a no-deal Brexit would be the most economically damaging outcome for the UK, it is clear that we in Milton Keynes have much to fear from a Conservative government that includes both our local Tory MPs and is intent on taking us out of the EU without a deal.
“Now we know that the Conservatives are determined to leave the EU at any cost, even if it damages UK businesses and plunges UK citizens into poverty. It is obvious that they want to use Brexit as a pretext to hammer workers’ rights, sell off our NHS to Trump’s American business friends and to flood the UK market with dodgy food products. While many voted to leave in 2016 for a better future, it is becoming increasingly apparent that that better future can only exist if the UK remains a part of the EU.
“Hannah and I, as Labour parliamentary candidates in Milton Keynes, stand united in demanding that any deal reached by Boris Johnson’s government or a no deal would have to be put before the people in a general election or referendum where we, alongside the wider Labour party, will campaign to remain.”
In addition to major food insecurity, the briefing warns of the following issues:
- The weak pound could push up the real cost per barrel and the movement of supplies, primarily via Rotterdam, will slow.
- The briefing warns of closed petrol stations locally and rationed access for essential use, such as emergency services.
Health and social care:
- In addition to the rising costs and delays of importing medicines, the briefing warns of the potential impact on the sector of staff from other EU countries leaving MK and the UK, placing serious pressures on delivery.
- A low proportion of MK businesses have applied for registration and identification necessary to trade with the EU after Brexit.
- The briefing also warns of significant bureaucracy eating up the time and energy of business, in particular small and medium sized enterprises, which comprise 95% of business in MK.