Bishop and Norwich charity concern over no-deal Brexit
The new Bishop of Norwich has signed an open letter voicing concerns about the potential cost of a no-deal Brexit while Norwich Foodbank has also warned of the dangers to the poorest people in Norfolk. Keith Morris reports.
The Rt Rev Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, was one of 25 Church of England bishops to issue an open letter this week on the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and the need for national reconciliation after the Archbishop of Canterbury conditionally agreed to chair a Citizens Forum in Coventry. The bishops say they support this move to have all voices in the current Brexit debate heard.
“We have particular concerns about the potential cost of a no-deal Brexit to those least resilient to economic shocks,” says the letter.
“Exiting the EU without an agreement is likely to have a massive impact on all our people and the Government is rightly preparing for this outcome. The Government believes that leaving the EU on 31 October is essential to restoring trust and confidence. It is unlikely, however, that leaving without an agreement, regardless of consequences, will lead to reconciliation or peace in a fractured country. “Getting Brexit done” will not happen on exit day, and we have to be transparent about the years of work ahead of us in bringing the country together for a better future. We also need to be frank about the potential costs.
“Our main social and political priority must be to leave well, paying particular attention to the impact of political decisions on those most vulnerable.
“We hold different views about Brexit and how our country should proceed from here. However, although we agree that respecting a public vote is essential, democracy and committed debate do not end after the counting of votes. We are seeing the evidence of division in every part of England.”
The letter goes on to express concern about a number of matters including:
Political polarisation and language that appears to sanction hate crime: the reframing of the language of political discourse is urgent, especially given the abuse and threats levelled at MPs doing their job.
The ease with which lies can be told and misrepresentation encouraged: leaders must be honest about the costs of political choices, especially for those most vulnerable.
The levels of fear, uncertainty and marginalisation in society, much of which lies behind the vote for Brexit, but will not be addressed by Brexit: poor people, EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in Europe must be listened to and respected.
Pictured above is the new Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham Usher.
Foodbank manager says rising food and fuel prices could hit poorest hard
Meanwhile, Norwich Foodbank project manager Hannah Worsley spoke after Norfolk’s plans to cope with a no-deal Brexit revealed fears for food choices and medicines, rising fuel prices and disruption to care services.
The plans were revealed in a Norfolk County Council report earlier this week by the Norfolk Resilience Forum, which brings together councils, Norfolk Fire and Rescue, Norfolk police and others, and has been co-ordinating planning for different Brexit outcomes.
Hannah told the EDP of her concern that rising food and fuel prices will hit the poorest people in Norfolk the hardest as they spend a larger proportion of their income on the basics.
“There could be more people in need while people who support us with donations may need to tighten their purse strings and so gifts may dwindle,” she said.
So far donations to the Foodbank have not been hit and the last 12 months has set a new record for the amount of emergency food parcels given out.