Tom Brake and OBS

Tom Brake public meeting

“Great meeting of EU citizens and other interested people at Tom Brake’s event on 19 January.  Over 50 people turned up, and made many excellent points.  We now have many new supporters of OBS.  Together we can get a positive alternative to the hard “no deal” Brexit. One that works for all UK and EU citizens.”

Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington hosted a public meeting for EU citizens, friends and anyone interested on the evening of 19th January to provide an update on the negotiations.

If you wish to know  more please contact his office on

or telephone 0208 255 8155 

OR contact OBS at

Tom Brake public meeting


24th March 2018

One year since the Article 50 letter of confirmation and one year till Britain leaves the EU.

We will be active on the streets of Sutton - look out for us - details of location to be forwarded shortly.



This is a report prepared by Open Britain Sutton (OBS) A1 about the impact of Brexit on local businesses, EU citizens and community cohesion. It reflects information gathered at meetings held by local MP’s with the public, local businesses and EU citizens, as well as street stalls in the London Borough of Sutton. 


1. Commercial relationships with EU customers and suppliers

  •  • Most local businesses are small businesses. They cannot afford different UK standards from those in the EU. Like many members of the Federation of Small Businesses A2 they need open access and a ‘level playing field’ with their EU competitors. 
  • • The UK brand is diminished by the dithering about Brexit.
  •  • Rising prices mean that some local businesses cannot afford to buy necessary imported tools and equipment, which may affect their future viability. 
  • • There is concern about supply chain disruption, and increased difficulty in exporting. 
  • • There is lower quality engineering and supply within UK.

 2. Employment issues • Local businesses need to recruit and retain the best talent if they are to survive and succeed. • Existing EU employees currently feel unwelcome in the UK and may decide to return home. • Potential skilled EU recruits are less interested in coming to the UK to work in the UK. • The local skills base is insufficient. 3. Insufficient Information • Local businesses do not have sufficient information about the implications of the Brexit process, which makes investment decisions difficult and a reluctance to commit to the UK as a base. • Achieving the certainty which business needs does not seem to be a priority in the Brexit negotiations. • Local businesses might need to gather and present evidence of key issues collectively if they are to have any influence on decisions that matter to them. Report on impact of Brexit in LB Sutton 2 February 2018 EU CITIZENS • EU citizens feel unwelcome in Sutton and they are concerned about increasing ethnic and cultural hostility. • Some are worried about speaking English with a ‘foreign accent’ in case they attract negative attention, especially when on their own (see below). • They feel uninformed about how to achieve “settled status” and what steps to take if they wish to apply for British citizenship, or “permanent residency”. • There is a lack of awareness about a GOV.UK email update service, which was set up in April 2017 on the government’s website. • There is concern that Brexit is turning Great Britain into “Little Britain” making us less respected as a country. • They are worried employers may be making judgements about people’s futures before they are legally allowed to. Is the reason that they may not get a job because they are not the best person for the role, or is it because they are EU nationals? • There are similar concerns about possible discrimination in terms of private housing rentals. COMMUNITY INTERACTIONS • EU citizens are reluctant to engage publicly on Brexit related issues, for fear of verbal abuse from others. • OBS has noticed that the polarisation created by the EU referendum vote has not gone away. • There is a lack of willingness for people to engage respectfully with each other where they have differing opinions. • OBS supporters have been verbally abused when handing out leaflets in Sutton High Street. • OBS welcomed the skilful handling of public disagreement by our local MP’s at public meetings on the Brexit process. Open Britain Sutton February 2018 Report on impact of Brexit in LB Sutton 3 February 2018 RECOMMENDATIONS The local business voice: 1. In the current period of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it would help small businesses in the Borough if local organisations could sustain and grow their support for them, for example through improved information flows. We are sending this report to the Sutton Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses to consider this. We hope that they will engage with other local business and trade associations about this important issue. In addition, Councillors may wish to include relevant information, and possibly seek evidence of local business impacts, in their Opportunity Sutton newsletter and website. 2. Councillors and local MP’s should collect local evidence and facts about the implications of Brexit for local small businesses to ensure the business voice is heard locally. It would be useful if local businesses could act together to help them. 3. Elected representatives should encourage local businesses to act together to provide evidence and case studies for Councillors, local MP’s and the GLA about the implications of Brexit for their business, so that they can consider future implications for LB Sutton and take appropriate action. 4. Local MPs should continue to tell Government that our businesses need certainty to plan for their future. The success of local small businesses is crucial for employment in our borough and for the vibrancy of the local economy. Local citizens: 5. The Prime Minister has now said: “We hugely value the contributions that EU nationals make to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the UK”. Councillors, and the Greater London Authority, should explore ways of communicating the contribution that EU citizens (and other nationals) make locally and nationally to the UK. (Just one example is to the NHS and care services.) We need to encourage EU nationals to: • Feel welcome in Sutton and London more widely. • Write to their local Councillors and MP’s and let them know their concern. • Sign up to the government’s email updates on their status, available on the website: “Status of EU Nationals – What you need to know” at 6. Explore ways that elected representatives can encourage community interactions between citizens of different backgrounds. Report on impact of Brexit in LB Sutton 4 February 2018 APPENDIX 1 A1 Open Britain Sutton Open Britain Sutton (OBS) is a grassroots local community campaign group, part of the national Open Britain cross-party pro-European campaign, set up after the EU referendum in 2016. OBS has over 200 local supporters and a social media presence, run by volunteers. The group campaigns to: • Safeguard local jobs and investment in LB Sutton, avoid higher prices for residents. • Encourage a “good Brexit deal” with a close relationship to the EU. • Guarantee the rights of existing EU citizens living and working in Sutton. OBS has gathered information for this report by: • Campaigning in LB Sutton, principally Sutton High Street, handing out leaflets at street stalls, and obtaining signatures for Open Britain petitions. • Listening to the views of local businesses and EU Citizens living in Carshalton & Wallington constituency at Brexit negotiations update meetings organised by Tom Brake MP in January 2018. • Attending Paul Scully MP’s update events on the Brexit process for Sutton & Cheam residents in Autumn 2017. OBS contact information: Facebook: Website: Email: Twitter: OpenGBSutton APPENDIX 2 A2 Federation of Small Businesses The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) survey “A Skilful Exit – what small firms want from Brexit” shows that in the UK 1 in 5 small businesses have EU staff; 1 in 3 do business with or in EU; 59% of those with EU workers are concerned about accessing the skills they need post-Brexit, 56% about enforcing new immigration rules, and 54% about ability to grow the business. See the FSB link for: “A Skilful Exit – what small firms want from Brexit” April 2017 recommendations at Report on impact of Brexit in LB Sutton 5 February 2018

News and articles

This section provides links to  news articles and opinions on Brexit, Europe and any related subject

  • The web site for OPEN BRITAIN the national group with which we are associated .

  • InFacts is dedicated to making the most of post-referendum Britain – fighting against a destructive Brexit and campaigning to pull the UK together whether Brexit happens or not.

  • The EUs position papers on article 50 sent to the 27 remaining EU countres

  • The Institute for Government is the leading think tank working to make government more effective. We provide rigorous research and analysis, topical commentary and public events to explore the key challenges facing government.​ We offer a space for fresh thinking, to help politicians and civil servants think differently and bring about change.