To note the latest Brexit position.
The panel noted and discussed the report and the verbal updates received from the officers.
In response to the panel’s agreed work streams the following points were noted.
i. The end of freedom of movement on 31 December 2020, meant that new immigration rules and the immigration points system was now applicable to those entering the UK or had not applied for EU settlement status. Although further clarification was needed to know if an appeal process was available for those that had simply missed the deadline and were residing in the UK before 31 December 2020.
ii. The latest figures reported that 48,960 EU nationals had applied for EU settlement status in Southwark and 46,950 residents had received either settlement status or pre-settled status. The deadline to apply for settled status was still 30 June 2021. Receiving settled status was the equivalent to being granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Registrar resources remained to be under pressure to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online EU settlement scheme portal was still available and an increase in demand of for a face-to-face service towards the deadline was still likely to occur.
iii. The council were still monitoring the take-up of the scheme as well as maintaining key communications to promote the scheme and reach all communities in collaboration with all key internal and external stakeholders.
Local services and service offer:
i. Notices of higher valued contracts were now required to be published on a UK platform “Find a Tender” and to voluntarily publish in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The council’s e-procurement system allowed automatic publication to the OJEU.
ii. On 15 December 2020 the Government published a Green Paper: Transforming public procurement and the consultation deadline was 10 March 2021. There could be potential changes to lower value contracts and options to reserve lower value contracts to local businesses.
iii. There were intentions to identify through the council’s response to the consultation if there was an option to reserve lower value contracts to local businesses in the borough or if this option only referred to reserving to local businesses in London.
iv. The Green Paper did not include any direct changes to procurement.
Shared Prosperity Fund/EU related fund:
i. The panel noted that further details about the shared prosperity fund (SPF) were expected during Spring 2021, although this could be delayed. The panel also noted that Appendix 1 of the report contained Southwark’s economic renewal plan and Brexit remained a key strategic consideration for monitoring against the six commitments detailed in the plan. For example, Brexit preparedness plan replaced the Brexit risk register and was listed as part of the Brexit work stream at printed pages 39 to 40 of Appendix 1.
i. Businesses that relied upon importing and exporting were most likely facing the immediate challenges and the smaller businesses would be disadvantaged as a result of the non-tariff barriers in place.
ii. The construction, hospitality, and health and social care workforces in Southwark were most likely to experience a change, as a consequence of Brexit. The level of this impact was yet to materialise.
iii. It was too early to identify the demand and impact for those that rely upon providers that deliver an advice service this was due to the global public health crisis (COVID-19 pandemic).
The Head of Economy reassuring the panel that all the work streams for the Brexit panel would be continuously monitored and an updated report would be provided at a future meeting.
The Chair thanked everyone for the contributions to this item.
1. That the Southwark Brexit Panel noted the report.
2. That the Southwark Brexit Panel receives an updated report at a future meeting.