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Brexit Commission: right deal required for public sector staff mix

A bespoke agreement with the European Union allowing two-way free movement for skilled public-sector workers alongside lower skilled posts is seen as “the ideal solution,” a new report has claimed.

The findings, released today by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Brexit Advisory Commission, claimed that recruitment from the EU is “desirable as well as necessary”, specifically from top levels of academia and medicine but also from lower-skilled posts such as sectors with chronic staff shortages, like social care and the NHS.

The UK faced a “serious risk” of losing their leading professionals to other countries if top talent from EU nations were kept out due to Britain’s departure from the union, as well as lower-skilled posts which “cannot be filled domestically” and will lead to major workforce implications in areas such as construction and transport, the report found.

Approximately 62,000 of the 1.2 million NHS workforce in England are from EU countries, making up 5.6% of the workforce. Doctors have the highest proportion of EU staff among the professions, with almost one in 10 doctors being from an EU nation.

This, combined with other public sectors (such as education, where 149,000 EU nationals work in the system) has led the report to call on the government to balance its desire to control immigration with steps to ensure the public sector can recruit talent they need.

“A failure to do so would have a substantial impact on many aspects of British life, from education to healthcare and social care,” the report said.

The Brexit Advisory Commission review noted: “The government needs to explain to the public that in many cases recruitment from the EU is not just necessary but desirable, enhancing the quality of our public service.”

Additionally, the report recommended that British workers would not be able to pick up the slack left by departing EU nationals and called for an increase in funding for public sector pay and increasing immigration from other areas around the world.

In a series of tweets, Julia Goldsworthy, chair of the commission, said: “The EU workforce represents some pretty chunky numbers in services where there are already workforce shortages. A one-dimensional deal won’t cut it - it has to address different skills needs, geographical needs and anticipate future demand.”


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