‘Living document’ born to help county’s biggest Brexit stronghold assess impact of leaving EU
The continuing uncertainly over life outside the European Union led to the birth of a “living document” assessing its potential impact in Norfolk’s biggest Brexit stronghold.
More than 70pc of voters in the Great Yarmouth borough elected to leave the EU in 2016 - the fifth strongest pro-Brexit vote nationwide.
However, with the nation’s future still up in the air, councillors in Great Yarmouth have agreed it needs to begin thoroughly monitoring how it could impact on the borough - even before a deal has gone through parliament.
After discussing a report from officers highlighting the challenges - and opportunities - Brexit could bring, members of the borough council’s economic development committee agreed to make the report “a living document”.
This means it would be routinely updated to reflect developments in Westminster and Brussels.
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The 31-page report, which was drawn mainly from reports from Norfolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, suggested people in the borough were likely to be among the most vulnerable to Brexit’s impact.
However, Barry Coleman, chairman of the committee, was keen to stress it also outlines a variety of opportunities for the borough.
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He said: “I personally think there are a range of emerging opportunities from Brexit. There will be challenges, but also opportunities.
“The need to up-skill the local economy will become more important and the report says this would create the opportunity for this.
“There is a far bigger world out there to be traded with outside of the European Union and that is what the report is saying. If you look at the clothes you wear or the white goods in your home, very few will have been produced in EU countries.”
Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth, however, described the political climate around Brexit as “a mess”.
He said: “There is nothing in this for the people of Great Yarmouth. At the moment the only glimmer of hope is that tourism could increase - which is only because of a weaker economy.
“I don’t think people understand the problems Yarmouth is going to face.”