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Canterbury Christ Church University academics say Brexit could benefit Kent

Kent could benefit financially from Brexit if its specific needs are met by the government, according to a pair of Canterbury Christ Church University academics.

Amelia Hadfield, director for the Centre for European Studies, and visiting professor Mark Hammond have produced a report which examines the opportunities and challenges presented by leaving the European Union.

They argue that individuals, communities and businesses all have varying aspirations from Brexit.

Amelia Hadfield, director of the Centre for European Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University
Amelia Hadfield, director of the Centre for European Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University

Dr Hadfield said: “Local businesses and organisations such as our farmers, healthcare providers and universities are asking the government to resolve the status of current EU workers in Kent – to understand how a new system can best support workers and also manage the future flow of people into and through the county.

“Our farmers wish to see the reintroduction of a modern seasonal agricultural works scheme to support their industry while controlling migration.

“Healthcare providers would like to see government take steps now to clarify and establish a new regime for managing the migration of EU staff working in health and social care, specifically focusing on the skills and capacity needed in the sector to ensure its continuity and delivery of services.”

Mark Hammond co-authored the Brexit report
Mark Hammond co-authored the Brexit report

The academics’ report is titled Kent and Medway: Making a Success of Brexit – a Sectoral Appraisal.

It was launched at the Houses of Parliament in an event hosted by Faversham MP Helen Whately.

By seeking the opinions of a variety of people and organisations, they hope the report can be used by regional decision-makers as the UK negotiates its way out of the EU.

Dr Hadfield went on: “It’s not just our farmers that receive EU funding, strategic projects supporting tourism, environmental protection, regeneration and businesses also currently benefit from EU support.

“Business and commerce would like to see the government commit to support funding for robust and sustainable business networks and invest in services provided for by the Department for International Trade.

“This would reduce the current uncertainty for our businesses and other key sectors and ensure we are able to seize the opportunities that arise.

“There are also concerns surrounding the impact of freedom of movement. Historically, Kent has been in the frontline in terms of the movement of not only goods from the continent, but also of people either into permanent professional roles or as seasonal workers.”

You can read the full report here.

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