Council leader to PM: EU nationals need “absolute clarity”
Published: Wednesday 19th July 17
Council leader Ravi Govindia has called for EU nationals to be given “absolute clarity” over their future status in the UK and has praised their great contribution to life in Wandsworth.
In a letter to Theresa May, Cllr Govindia spells out the harmful impacts of continuing uncertainly and urges the Prime Minister to reassure EU citizens “that their future is here”.
In late July the Government published a white paper setting its offer for UK based EU citizens to continue living here as they do now, with continuing rights to healthcare, education, benefits and pensions.
These terms are now being negotiated with the Member States of the EU.
While these talks continue Cllr Govindia has instructed council officers to develop proposals for supporting and advising the borough’s European citizens on their rights and how the Government’s proposals could affect them.
The full letter reads:
Dear Prime Minister
As the leader of a highly diverse and culturally rich inner London borough I want to impress upon you the significant impact the Brexit negotiations are having upon local communities here. The need to reassure the European Union nationals resident in Wandsworth about their future in the UK is a high priority for me and the Council.
European residents make up a significant proportion of our local population and they are a part of our community right across the whole borough. They have enriched and continue to enrich our communities in more ways than I could hope to capture in this letter. They contribute greatly to public services, our vitality and to delivering the huge regeneration of our borough.
Wandsworth is a truly great example of what a diverse and cohesive community can achieve. Our borough is home to the new US Embassy; Malaysia and China have invested heavily in our regeneration areas; we have French schools; we have places of worship for every major world faith and a great mix of nationalities from Europe and across the world. They are all part of Wandsworth’s DNA and they are critical to our future success and prosperity.
The current uncertainly EU residents face is unfair and debilitating. While I have no doubt they will be given the right to remain, they require absolute clarity now so they can plan their lives and make informed decisions in the interests of their families, careers and businesses. As someone who came to the UK from Uganda in 1972, I recall the decisiveness with which our Party in government acted and once that decision was made how much of a relief it was to my family and many others like us.
This council’s call for certainly is echoed by our residents, and it is no secret that Wandsworth voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU in last year’s referendum, recording one of the highest remain votes in the country at 75 per cent.
Over many years Wandsworth Council has proved that local government can affect positive change, drive economic growth and take the lead in attracting new jobs and investment to the UK. We are known as an efficient, low council tax borough that gets things done and we know our new relationship with the EU and the world will of course present new opportunities. We believe that all of Wandsworth's residents, wherever they come from, will want to play their part in this endeavour - they just need to know that their future is here.
Ravi Govindia CBE
Leader of Wandsworth Council
Published: Monday 27th June 16
Published: Thursday 21st July 16
Published: Friday 23rd December 16
Published: Wednesday 22nd March 17