What’s the Local Impact? Brexit Bus brings demands to Kent County Hall

Campaigners from all around Kent braved severe snow conditions to see the Is It Worth It? Bus at several locations in Kent yesterday.

Following visits to Dover and Canterbury, the bus came to County Hall in Maidstone, where a letter signed by the representatives of 14 pro-EU groups from around the county was delivered to the chairman and leader of Kent County Council.

The letter demands that KCC conducts an evidence-based study into the impact that leaving the European Union, the Single Market and/or the Customs Union will have on business and society in the county.

Speaking on behalf of the groups, Richard Morris, a committee member of Sevenoaks and Swanley Together in Europe and the West Kent European Movement said:

“We have just now delivered a letter to KCC demanding that Brexit assessments be made specifically for Kent. We fear that, given Kent’s wealth of business activity, cross-channel freight, hospitals, public services and farming, the proportionate adverse impact could be much greater than for the rest of the UK.”

“We foresee chaotic consequences of leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union – impediments to trade, Dover congestion, an insoluble Irish border issue, cash flow damage from up-front VAT for exporters and importers – and manufacturing moving to countries within the customs union in order to retain customers, who won’t accept increased bureaucracy, consequentially leading to job losses in the UK.”

Nick Kerr, Ron Ballard and Richard Morris (left to right), the representatives from the pro-EU being interviewed before delivering the letter to KCC.

After delivering the letter, there were short speeches on the steps of County Hall, as well as a surprise performance by “EU Super Girl” Madeleina Kay.

Tim Evans, a coordinator of the Is It Worth It? Bus tour, pointed out that aside from the economic impact, the structural impact on Kent would be severe.

In their visit to Dover a few hours earlier, they had learned that if current lorry processing times of 2 minutes are extended by just 2 more minutes, this would cause a traffic jam up to Ashford, 2 further minutes a tailback to Maidstone, and a few more minutes all the way to the M25.

Madeleina Kay performing one of her songs (pictured with Tim Evans, a coordinator of the bus tour)

The event also featured a speech by the distinguished journalist Quentin Peel, who pointed out that the answer to the Is it Worth It? question on the side of the bus “has to be an emphatic NO!”

“Brexit is a fantastically complicated exercise that will take at least a decade, or more, to complete. It has already caused huge uncertainty, and a virtual standstill in investment in the UK.”

Quentin Peel outside Kent County Council in Maidstone

The signatories to the letter are the coordinators of 14 grassroots pro-EU groups throughout the county who seek to continue the pressure on Kent County Council over the coming months.

Some of these groups are affiliated to national campaigns, whereas others are totally independent.

 

Please note: Contrary to some misleading reports in the national press, the Brexit: Is It Worth It? Bus tour campaign was solely financed by small individual donations from ordinary people across the UK.

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