Turn “toxic” Brexit around, says TSSA

A puzzle with the word Brexit on it

Responding to Labour’s new ‘5 point plan to Make Brexit Work’, rail union TSSA says Tory Brexit is harming our economy.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has launched a new Labour policy position on Brexit, called ‘Labour’s 5 point plan to Make Brexit Work’. In it, he makes clear that Labour will not hold a second referendum nor seek to re-enter the EU Single Market or Customs Union. However, Labour calls for closer alignment with Europe on security matters, data protection and scientific innovation.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has said that the impact of Brexit continues to be worse than Covid, costing the UK 4% of GDP every year through lost trade, red tape and other measures.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, responding to the Labour leader’s speech said: “There is no doubt that some of the economic malaise now afflicting our country is down to the Tory Brexit deal. Rather than being oven ready, it is proving to be half baked and toxic.  

“At a time when data is increasingly showing the self-harm that Johnson's Brexit deal has created, it's disappointing that our Labour Party is not being bolder on what should be done to reverse the damage the Tories’ Brexit deal is inflicting on all of us.  

“Sadly, the reality is that Johnson's Brexit deal will continue to harm our economy long after he departs Number 10 unless an incoming Labour government is prepared to fundamentally change our current relationship with the EU.” 

Labour’s 5-Point Plan To Make Brexit Work 


Point 1 - Sort Out The Northern Ireland Protocol.

Sorting out the Northern Ireland Protocol must be the starting point to make Brexit work.

Agreement here can be the springboard to securing a better deal for the British people. 

There is a clear landing zone to a deal. The Government just don’t want one.

Instead, their only plan is to stoke up old Brexit divisions. We must move on. 

Labour will seek a new veterinary agreement for trade in Agri-products between the UK and EU. Something countries like New Zealand and Canada already have in place. 

This would eliminate most checks created by the Tories' Brexit deal between the British and Northern Ireland border. 

For all other goods we will work with business in Northern Ireland to put in place an enhanced and specialised trusted trader scheme to allow low-risk goods entering Northern Ireland without unnecessary checks. 


Point 2 – Tear Down Unnecessary Trade Barriers.

Labour would extend the new veterinary agreement to cover all the UK which would tear down barriers for our Agri-product exporters. 

We would seek to agree mutual recognition of conformity assessments across specified sectors so that our producers no longer need to complete two sets of tests, or two processes of certification, to sell their goods in both the UK and the EU.

Labour has no intention from diverging standards below current levels, so agreeing these common standards will not only help our exporters but create a safety net to ensure our food standards are world leading. 

Labour do not support the return of freedom of movement. 

However, we will seek to find new flexible labour mobility arrangements for those making short-term work trips and for musicians and artists seeking short-term visas to tour within the EU. 


Point 3 – Support Our World Leading Services And Scientists.

Labour will seek mutual recognition of professional qualifications to enable our world leading service industries to do business in the EU.

Labour will maintain Britain’s data adequacy status meaning our data protection rules are deemed equivalent to those in the EU, enabling UK digital services companies to compete.

We will not seek regulatory equivalence for financial services as that could constrain our ability to make our rules and system work better.

However, Labour will make sure Britain’s world leading scientists are not missing out by giving our researchers access to funding and vital cross border research programmes.


Point 4 – Keep Britain Safe.

There is no reason why leaving the EU should weaken our security capabilities.

Bad relations, lack of trust and failure to secure cross-border and security measures in the Brexit deal is doing just that. 

At a time when European security is under threat, we must strengthen our security cooperation with trusted allies. 

Labour will seek a new security pact with the EU to defend our borders, by allowing us to share data, intelligence, and best practice. 

We cannot take risks with terrorism, organised crime, and people trafficking. 

Labour will seek to set up joint intelligence working to boost capabilities in Britain and the bloc.

And we will seek to create new models of joint working with EU and other countries to combat cyberattacks and the spread of state sponsored disinformation. 


Point 5 – Invest In Britain.

Labour will use green investment and a commitment to buy, make and sell in Britain to ensure we are best placed to compete on a global stage.

Labour will embrace global trade outside of the EU. Labour wants Britain to lead the way in developing a new global trade approach that puts people, communities, rights, and standards at its very heart.

The Government have missed Brexit opportunities in the past 18 months, including missing the opportunity to cut VAT on energy bills.

Labour will use flexibility outside of the EU to ensure British regulation is adapted to suit British needs. 

As an example, we will change rules on insurance, which are currently taken directly from EU regulations, to allow British pension savers to own and build British infrastructure.

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