George Eustice: The Brexit solution now? Not Norway Plus, but the EFTA pillar of the EEA. | Conservative Home


The actions of Parliament last week were a blow to the credibility of our democracy. We have signalled to the world that we are too scared to leave the EU without its permission, and we are about to send our Prime Minister to Brussels on her hands and knees to beg for an extension.

However, for those like me who voted to leave without a deal if necessary, it is no good sobbing over the fact that we lost a line-out and that those who want to thwart the referendum result are running away with the ball. We need to regroup and get back in the game.

We have been arguing about Brexit solidly for over three years now and our system cannot take another two years of this, especially if there is a long extension to article 50. What is needed now is a way to secure early closure on this debate and to expedite our departure from the EU.

There is a simpler and swifter way to get out of the EU. We should rely on our existing legal rights and obligations as a signatory to the EEA. The UK is a party to that agreement in its own right, and the Government took a conscious decision last year not to give twelve months notice to leave the EEA, as is required under article 127 of that agreement.

The first step would be to agree a stand-still arrangement with the EU, along the lines of the “Malthouse 2” compromise for a transitional period of nine months, during which we would give an undertaking to dynamically align all of our regulations, so that there would be no need for the EU to put in place border checks.

We would then immediately apply to join the EFTA pillar of the EEA agreement. Full EFTA membership would take six to nine months to complete, but joining the necessary surveillance and court agreements to make the EEA operable could be agreed within three months. The standstill agreement on regulatory alignment would become a bridge to somewhere (i.e: EFTA) rather than an open-ended continuation of this exhausting debate.

 

Source: George Eustice: The Brexit solution now? Not Norway Plus, but the EFTA pillar of the EEA. | Conservative Home

Brexit: the implications for health and social care- update from The King’s Fund | Care Industry News


Brexit has major implications for health and social care in England. Here we look at some of the latest developments that could impact the health and care system in England.

The deadline of 29 March 2019, set when Article 50 was triggered, is rapidly approaching but many important issues are still to be resolved. Brexit has already had an impact, especially on the recruitment and retention of EU nationals in some parts of the workforce which is contributing to shortages of key staff. In addition, the ongoing debate in parliament and uncertainty about whether a deal can be agreed mean considerable work has gone into preparations for a no-deal Brexit. The Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance for organisations to prepare contingency plans and has established a national operational response centre to lead on responding to any disruption to the delivery of health and care services.

Staffing

Across NHS trusts there is currently a shortage of more than 100,000 staff (representing 1 in 11 posts), severely affecting some key groups of essential staff, including nurses, many types of doctors, allied health professionals, and care staff. Vacancies in adult social care are rising, currently totally 110,000, with around 1 in 10 social worker and 1 in 11 care worker roles unfilled. International recruitment is a key factor in addressing these vacancies. Brexit and immigration policy will have an impact on the ability of the NHS to successfully fill these vacancies.

The policy of freedom of movement and mutual recognition of professional qualifications within the EU means that many health and social care professionals currently working in the UK have come from other EU countries. This includes nearly 62,000 (5.2 per cent)1 of the English NHS’s 1.2 million workforce and an estimated 104,000 (around 8 per cent)2 of the 1.3 million workers in England’s adult social care sector (NHS Digital 2018Skills for Care 2018). The proportion of EU workers in both the NHS and the social care sector has grown over time, suggesting that both sectors have become increasingly reliant on EU migrants.

The UK has a greater proportion of doctors who qualified abroad working than in any other European country, except Ireland and Norway. Latest General Medical Council (GMC) data shows that the number of doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) joining the medical register is holding steady (but still down 40 per cent on 2014 after new language requirements were introduced). A combination of relaxed visa restrictions and active recruitment by trusts means that the number of non-EEA doctors joining the register doubled between 2014 and 2017 (GMC 2018). However, some specialties not currently on the Home Office’s shortage occupation list are still facing difficulties, for example child and adolescent psychiatry.

 

Source: Brexit: the implications for health and social care- update from The King’s Fund | Care Industry News

Key contribution of EU workers to UK health system highlighted | News | Nursing Times


European migrants contribute much more to the UK health sector than they consume in services, according to a government-commissioned report.

Donna Kinnair, acting chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the findings of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) shut down the “damaging belief” that overseas workers were a burden on the care system.

 

Source: Key contribution of EU workers to UK health system highlighted | News | Nursing Times

Fact Check: is being in the single market dependent on membership of the EU?


The single market is dependent on membership of the EU. What we’ve said all along is that we want a tariff free trade access to the European market and a partnership with Europe in the future.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on July 23.

As a description of the law, Jeremy Corbyn’s assertion is wrong, and has been so for almost a quarter of a century.

The European Economic Area Treaty (EEA) entered into force in 1994. This provides full membership of the single market for countries which are not members of the European Union. At present, these are Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Switzerland also has access to some aspects of the single market under a series of treaties. In the current Brexit negotiations, if the UK expresses a wish to exit the EU but remain in the EEA – or reach a separate similar arrangement – it is clear that this would be facilitated and welcomed by the 27 remaining EU states.

Since it would clearly be impossible to complete the huge task of negotiating permanent trading arrangements between the UK and the EU by mid-2019, when Article 50 negotiations on the UK’s exit will end unless there is unanimous agreement to extend them, a transition agreement needs to be reached.

The cabinet is reportedly united on the need for such

Source: Fact Check: is being in the single market dependent on membership of the EU?