Mayor James Palmer presses case for Cambridge and Peterborough to Brexit Minister Suella Fernandes
Mayor James Palmer met with Brexit Minister Suella Fernandes to discuss the best possible outcome for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough when Britain leaves the European Union.
Cambridge was chosen as the first venue for series of forums that Ms Fernandes will be holding with Metro Mayors throughout the UK, in order to update them on progress on the countdown to March 29, 2019.
Ms Fernandes met with Mayor Palmer as well as West of England Mayor Tim Bowles and representatives from the offices of other Metro Mayors, at Trinity College.
The key points raised by Mayor Palmer during the meeting included the specific needs of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy, which includes a strong farming sector, as well as thriving science and technology enterprises.
Mr Palmer said: “Brexit poses both opportunities and challenges.
“I have always said that when preparing for life outside the EU, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough needs to retain access to the right people to maintain and push forward its growing economy.
“The Combined Authority area pays in £5 billion to the Treasury yearly thanks to its successful, hardworking and pioneering business sector, but we can’t continue to thrive without being able to bring in the right skills.”
Mayor Palmer is also exploring trade and investment agreements with key cities and regions globally – opportunities made possible from the beginning of the Brexit transition period from March 2019.
He said: “I have already met with Mayors in the US which represent areas with businesses and skills that relate directly to the sorts of industries we have here. The ability for Metro Mayors to act as business ambassadors for their areas is one of the key opportunities that I am determined to seize to help open up our local economy to further trade, investment and skilled people, anywhere in the world.”
The meeting followed the UK’s recent transition agreement with the European Council on the implementation period for full withdrawal from the EU.
Minister without Portfolio and former Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis MP was also at the meeting to hear from the Mayors.
Ms Fernandes said: “These are exciting times for this country and I’m hugely optimistic about what the future holds. This time next year we will have left the EU and for the first time in 40 years will have the freedom to carve out our own trade deals with other countries, and will have taken back control of our borders, laws and money.”
The meeting took place on April 6.