The EU will keep the channel tunnel open for three months after a no deal Brexit to allow a renegotiation of the Treaty of Canterbury that permits the cross-border rail service to run. The European commission said the move would be conditional on the U.K. “maintaining safety standards identical to EU requirements”. In a statement it said:
This will ensure the protection of rail-passengers, the safety of citizens and will avoid major disruptions of cross-border rail operations and shuttle services after the UK’s withdrawal.
Theresa May’s Brexit statement to MPs – Summary and analysis
Earlier the Scottish affairs select committee was hearing about the practical impact of leaving the EU, in particular the impact on immigration.
Unlike much of the rest of the UK, Scotland is currently facing a demographic timebomb, with an increasing elderly population, and not enough working-age people to pay the taxes and provide the labour needed to look after them. We desperately need more people to settle in the country, especially around the Highlands and islands, but the uncertainty around Brexit is having quite the opposite effect.
One passionate advocate for immigration who spoke to the committee this morning is Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, who represents the health and social care sector. He told BBC Scotland earlier that Sajid Javid’s immigration proposals – including a £30,000 salary threshold – were “unrealistic, damaging and dangerous”.
He explained that, with the average salary in the care sector at £18,000, it was “demeaning” to describe people providing palliative care as “low-skilled”. He added that 12% of nurses in the sector are currently from Europe, while under the new rules it is estimated that 85% of workers from the EEA will not be allowed to come to Scotland, adding to an already significant recruitment and retention crisis.
Meanwhile, NHS Grampian is on a recruitment drive to attract nurses from Australia, after successfully lobbying the Nursing and Midwifery Council to relax restrictions on foreign staff.