Brexit: Dire warnings about impact on Sheffield and South Yorkshire

Brexit could decimate the South Yorkshire economy and cause a quarter of NHS staff in Sheffield to leave the country, a councillor has said.

Mark Jones, cabinet adviser for finance, has warned the impact of Brexit on the NHS workforce in Sheffield could be devastating, with both EU workers and those married to EU citizens likely to leave.

Mr Jones also warned that some estimates showed Sheffield City Region’s output being reduced by as much as 10-20% in the year following Brexit.

This could translate to as much as £20-30 billion in lost export and investment.

Mr Jones said: “It’s really difficult to put a precise figure on it because we don’t know what the deals going to look like. Will we still stay in the single market? Will we have tariffs put on us?”

One of Sheffield’s key exports is steel, which is largely exported to the European Union. These exports would likely be badly affected by Brexit.

The lack of an agreed divorce deal between the Westminster government and the European Council has hampered the council’s Brexit preparations.

Mr Jones said: “Central government haven’t told us what to address, so we can’t address it.

“All that we can do is load energy into the spring so that when it happens we can go, but loading energy into the spring costs money and that’s money that we should be spending on other issues.”

There is also uncertainty about the impact of these Brexit preparations upon the public purse.

Mr Jones: “It’s difficult to quantify how much it has cost so far because it’s officer time which we would have spent anyway.

“But those officers are being drawn away from other activities. That’s money we would spending anyway but it means we can’t be spending it on our priorities.”

Any resolution to the councils planning will be delayed a while longer, as Theresa May has today confirmed that a third meaningful vote will not take place this Tuesday.