Today I challenged the Government on their lacklustre approach to the Brexit negotiations. A huge number of people in Bristol West have written to me with their concerns that the Government is making a catastrophic mess of their future. And it’s not just the people of Bristol West who can see the disaster unfolding. A recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that if the Government were to get “a sense of scale, throw in some simple arithmetic and sprinkle a basic understanding of trade” it would be “obvious that the economic costs of leaving the customs union must outweigh the benefits.”
I put this to Brexit Minister Suella Braverman. Unfortunately, the answer I received was characteristic of the Government’s attitude to expertise throughout the Brexit process – she casually dismissed the opinion from one of our most respected, politically independent research institutes.
With this attitude to financial expertise, it is not surprising that many people are worried about their finances in coming years. Many constituents have asked me whether they will be able to continue to claim pensions they have accrued in the EU-27, or, conversely, claim UK pensions while living in these other countries. I asked Brexit Minister Robin Walker MP what the government was doing to protect people’s pensions.
He said the continuity of pensions has been agreed as part of the current negotiations. This should give my constituents some reassurance, though as the negotiators are fond of saying, ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. So I will be watching these negotiations closely and will continue to hold the Government to account on these matters.