Pinch and a punch, 1st of the month!

‘Dry January’ has gone, so-called Blue Monday has passed and next month we leave the EU – or will we?

It certainly does appear that Parliament is running out of time, even with the extra days freed up by abandoning the recess. I read a couple of weeks ago that the ‘big’ plan, which clearly is key to reaching a deal, isn’t the only concern.

I read: “There’s also a huge amount of secondary legislation that needs to be passed, making small changes to the law (sometimes just tweaking language, sometimes more complicated) via what are known as statutory instruments (SIs).

“The government estimates it will need nearly 600 SIs before Brexit day.

“The latest research from the Hansard Society shows that 305 SIs related to Brexit have been introduced so far – and only 67 have completed their passage through Parliament.

“There’s also a huge amount of secondary legislation that needs to be passed, making small changes to the law (sometimes just tweaking language, sometimes more complicated) via what are known as statutory instruments (SIs).

“The government estimates it will need nearly 600 SIs before Brexit day.

The latest research from the Hansard Society shows that 305 SIs related to Brexit have been introduced so far – and only 67 have completed their passage through Parliament.” Interesting huh?

So is it realistic that we successfully leave with all the ‘checks and balances’ in place? I’m not so sure.

We have been hearing in the media that there is a lot of activity going on to prepare in the event of a no deal Brexit. In fact social care providers have been contacted by CQC this week to gather possible impacts, as did we here at ARC a few days before – and no doubt there will be further ‘asks’ for more information over coming weeks. The biggest issue is we don’t know what we don’t know. A few things that have been banded around include issues with getting parts for German-made washing machines if they breakdown – the impact is then on infection control. What if lifts breakdown and again we struggle to get the necessary bits to fix them – will people be able to get in and out of their houses or rooms? What about food? So many things that, I would imagine, during the referendum vote never even crossed voters’ minds. I would urge all providers to have a contingency plan in place and really think through possible scenarios, no matter how far fetched they seem.

Another key area in the event of a no deal Brexit is around staffing. In fact in the event of a planned and agreed exit from the EU, the white paper from the Government in terms of attracting migrants to come and work here, still outlines that the job the person is coming to pays a minimum of £30K per annum. Completely inappropriate for the social care sector and yet another challenge to grapple with.

As you may know, ARC is a member of the Cavendish Coalition, bringing together 36 Health and Social Care organisations looking at the impact on the workforce post Brexit. This week, a briefing was submitted to MP’s in time for the second reading of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. The Cavendish Coalition is calling for:

  • A future immigration system that uses public service value as a key factor in assessing skill levels and setting entry requirements; salary should not be used as a proxy for skill.
  • Adjusted skills and salary levels to those set out in the Immigration White Paper to ensure that health and social care services can be properly staffed post-EU exit.

We’ll keep you posted on any developments of course.

So, for now we have to wait it out and see if Mr Barnier and our EU friends are willing to re-open negotiations so that a deal that our Parliament finds agreeable is reached – once we know that we can at least ‘deal’ with the deal, or not as the case may be…

Best wishes

Lisa Lenton
ARC England Director

1 February 2019