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Brexit Commission set up by Tower Hamlets to help EU citizens and deal with impact on Canary Wharf

PUBLISHED: 18:00 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:59 26 July 2018

On the edge of Europe... Britain gets ready to quit. Picture: Mike Brooke

On the edge of Europe... Britain gets ready to quit. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

A Brexit Commission is to be set up by Tower Hamlets Council as Britain gets ready to quit the EU.

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs sets up Brexit Commission to deal with impact of quitting Europe. Pictures: Mike BrookeTower Hamlets mayor John Biggs sets up Brexit Commission to deal with impact of quitting Europe. Pictures: Mike Brooke

The aim is to tackle the impact that Brexit has on the East End’s local economy, its civil society and public services and to consider how any negative impact of the split from Europe can be minimised.

Details of the commission are being unwrapped by the Mayor John Biggs at tonight’s cabinet meeting.

“Brexit is the most significant change in a generation,” he has told the East London Advertiser.

“But the debate has too often been about uncertainty since the 2016 referendum, leaving our residents and businesses struggling to plan ahead.”

Mayor John Biggs appoints Cllr Amina Ali to head Tower Hamlets' Brexit Commission. Picture: Kois MiahMayor John Biggs appoints Cllr Amina Ali to head Tower Hamlets' Brexit Commission. Picture: Kois Miah

The council promises to fill that “information gap” by bringing together experts in economics, civil society and public services as well as listening to public concerns.

It is getting ready to contribute as Parliament scrutinises government plans for leaving the EU, by sharing the commission’s evidence gathering.

It is also working with organisations like Tower Hamlets Law Centre, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and specialist immigration charities to support thousands of EU citizens living in the borough, with different ‘exit’ scenarios still possible.

Six independent commissioners are to be appointed from business, voluntary sector, statutory bodies, health and education.

The commission is being chaired by Cllr Amina Ali, cabinet member for Brexit, who said: “The tens-of-thousands of EU citizens have made their home and livelihoods in the East End who deserve reassurance, while the many businesses based here need our support.

“Bringing together expertise means we’re better placed to absorb the impact of Brexit and to benefit from any opportunities that our new relationship with the EU presents.”

One-in-seven people living in the East End are from the remaining 27 EU countries, around 41,000 who have “a valued role”.

The commission is to seek contributions from the public and formal evidence from professionals at hearings in September and October.

The evidence-gathering is to form its deliberations in January for lobbying the GLA, Local Government Association, London Councils and the East End’s two MPs.

Brexit will put pressure on companies in the financial, real estate, administrative, distribution, hospitality, transport and communications sectors, it is feared. These companies rely on an EU workforce.

Businesses operating in global markets with international supply chains have set up in districts like Canary Wharf which employs 12,000 people in 37 office buildings, 300 shops, cafés and restaurants. Their future is now in question.

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