The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has criticised the Government over its no-deal brinkmanship as time runs out to secure a trade deal in the Brexit talks. The Mayor said that the Government’s game-playing through the media during negotiations has left businesses and residents in the dark about what will happen at the start of 2021, with the threat of no trade deal looming.

The Mayor has also called on the Prime Minister to provide more clarity for EU citizens living in the borough and across the UK about what will happen at the end of the Transition Period, with many EU citizens feeling “deeply uncertain about the future” as campaigners warn that EU citizens with pre-settled status could inadvertently lose their eligibility for full settled status if they have been out of the country for more than six months and do not return by the end of the year.

Mayor Biggs has called on the Government to ensure a trade deal is actually achieved, as the economic impact of no-deal could be “catastrophic for the borough”, particularly with the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic.

John Biggs, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The Government’s no-deal brinkmanship has caused so much uncertainty for residents and businesses, and the potential economic impact of failing to secure a trade deal would be enormous in Tower Hamlets.

“As the negotiations go to the wire, it’s vital that a deal is actually secured and I urge the Prime Minister to ensure this happens. No-deal would be simply catastrophic for the borough and for the country, particularly as we try to recover from the pandemic.”

Cllr Sabina Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Culture, Art and Brexit, said: “We’ve worked hard to prepare the borough for Brexit, but as the end of the Transition Period looms we all face huge uncertainty about what the future will bring and what kind of economic impact there will be.

“Over the last few years we’ve been very clear to the many EU citizens living in Tower Hamlets that this is their home too, and we’ll continue to stand up for them during this really uncertain time.”

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