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Blog Post By Brendan Perring

Don't panic! Well maybe a little

As I pen this missive the UK largely remains under a constant grey pall, the weather remaining undecided whether it will turn into a properly freezing winter or stay with its current watery and vaguely cold state. And the case is very much the same with the plans for Brexit from our Government, which are about as clear as mud. My take on the situation is that the great and good of our realm, well the politicians at least, are in a state of panic—frozen into inaction through the dawning realisation that we will not be able to have our cake and eat it too.

What is clear is the long-term impact on our economy a slowdown or halt to significant European migration will bring. Did you know that a recent Labour Force Survey endorsed by the Economist recently showed that more than 10 percent of our manufacturing sector is staffed with EU nationals? There is also about 9 percent in the transport and logistics sector, and the same again for administration roles. These are just categories relevant to our own industry.

What is clear is the long-term impact on our economy a slowdown or halt to significant European migration will bring

Government statistics have already shown that there has been an increase in EU nationals returning to their country of origin, and while those with right-wing politics may see this as a victory, it is a hollow one. For those printers—and the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers—which have come to rely heavily on a ready supply of skilled workers from Europe, there is going to be difficult times ahead. Should we withdraw from the ‘free movement of people’ agreement, then this roughly 10 percent of the workforce will begin to dwindle, and at the moment there is simply not be enough done by the Government in recent years to generate a replacement supply.

The old days of employing EU nationals at low wage rates in industries such as ours are long gone.  That 10 percent of our workforce is there because we need it, and there are currently not enough British nationals who want to fill it. So, the message is, be prepared.
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