The leader of City of Lincoln Council has said that a ‘Brexit recession’ could cause lasting harm to the city’s economy, while also suggesting that a future government may be forced to hold a second European Union referendum.
Labour councillor Ric Metcalfe told The Lincolnite that the uncertainty brought about by the UK’s vote to leave the EU and financial forecasts predicting a downturn in the economy would all potentially have a significant effect on Lincoln.
Councillor Metcalfe, who voted Remain in the referendum, added that further cuts to the council’s budget would be introduced if the economy fell into recession.
He said: “If we do get a recession, that inevitably affects the council’s resources. It means we get less income which can create budget difficulties and widen the gap between our income and our expenditure so we could end up having to find greater savings.
“We’re already having to find approaching £1 million in savings over the next three years so we certainly wouldn’t want to see that position worsen.”
Second referendum possible
Councillor Metcalfe also suggested that a future UK government may be forced to hold a second EU referendum following the likely lengthy negotiations on the continent.
He said: “The negotiations are probably going to take a lot longer than many people might think. I think it’s going to be complicated and difficult and in the end the solution on offer may well be very different from what many people expected prior to the referendum.
“People have been ruling out a second referendum on democratic grounds, saying that the decision has been made and we shouldn’t in any way be seen to be going back on the democratic will of the people.
The reality is that if you get a complicated deal that doesn’t give people everything that they wanted and expected, that may pose a very serious dilemma for a British government.
“That British government may then have to make a decision to put whatever deal emerges from those long and protracted negotiations to the British people.”
Councillor Metcalfe also poured scorn on Leave campaigners’ hopes of a best of both worlds scenario, where the UK retained access to the single market and introduced tough new limits on free movement of people.
He added: “I will be astonished if we get anything resembling the economic benefits while avoiding the economic harm to the country and also get a restriction on free movement of labour.”