A new social enterprise response to Brexit

A new social enterprise response to Brexit, which calls MPs and Members of the House of Lords to offer a ratification referendum to respect the values of enterprise, environment and equality is attracting a growing list of signatures.
Our full statement  – a letter to MPs and Lords – will be published  at www.edinburghremakery.org.uk/brexit and can be read below.
The list of signatories is growing.

Social Entrepreneurs for Enterprise, Equality, & The Environment,

Dear Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords.

We are a group of successful social entrepreneurs from around the country with diverse political views. We are ordinary people with a rare thing – the trust of our communities behind us. We call for an amendment on the Article 50 Bill to allow a ratification referendum on the final deal.

Social enterprises work with local communities across many sectors including education, housing, waste and health. We are an innovative sector that uses business models to tackle social and environmental problems. We employ almost a million people and contribute £18.5 billion to the economy. Our sector creates new jobs at very competitive investment levels and has huge potential to create more.

What unites us is our shared values – to equality, enterprise and the environment. We call for these values to be a guiding principle for future EU discussions.

We are open to new opportunities that might arise from Brexit, particularly the role that social enterprise can play in an industrial strategy that creates benefits for all, but we feel the current speed of decision-making causes grave risks and demands a pause to reflect on these:

Having read the White Paper we have the following concerns:

1. The speed of the debate and self-imposed deadline of 31 March to trigger Article 50 is not allowing adequate clarification to take place

2. The White Paper omits any mention of additional funding to the NHS or support to disadvantaged communities – a key factor in people’s voting decisions.

3. The White Paper omits any mention of tackling climate change – one of the most pressing issues the world faces today that needs to see accelerated commitment. Tackling climate change can also open up business opportunities – in the circular economy and renewables industries.

4. The White Paper’s claims about immigration appear to be one-sided. For example, we can give examples of where immigration, rather than putting additional pressure on local people, has helped create additional jobs through growing our businesses.

5. As leaders of small businesses we risk additional trading costs from new tariffs that would be hard to absorb.

6. In a volatile and rapidly changing international political context, leaving the Single Market makes us vulnerable to trade with countries that do not share our basic values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

7. The White Paper emphasises the UK’s continuing support for, and partnership with, the EU. However the new global international order, and recent revelations about US-Russia ties, cause huge threats to the EU which should concern us, whether we are its ally or its member.

8. The White Paper states that ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’. That is correct. On this reasoning if we fail to get a good deal, it would seem more prudent to retain our existing tariff-free access to the EU, rather than sacrifice this for a worse deal.

We write to you as leaders, innovators and job creators, with the trust of our communities behind us. Democracy is a process, not a single end point. Please use your positions of power to ensure a robust, respectful, and fair process for the best of the whole country.

A ratification referendum on the final deal will ensure that our shared values are respected and the outcome truly is the will of the people, not the narrow interests of a few.

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