Brexit and the Border debate begins

Brexit and the Border debate begins  name

“A safe space for interaction and discussion” was how the University of Cumbria’s Pro Vice Chancellor Sandra Booth described an event which brought academics, businesses and local together to consider what Brexit might mean for Cumbria and the Scottish Border.

The conference (Fri 10 March), hosted by the University of Cumbria’s Centre for Regional and Economic Development (CRED), is the first in a series of three seminars supported by the Economic and Social Research Council's initiative ‘UK in a Changing Europe.' Working with Northumbria and Heriot-Watt Universities, guest speakers representing a wide range of sectors highlighted the questions leaving the EU could pose for the region.

“We tried to distil what the questions are and what the scenarios could be. So 'if this, what then?' We’re trying to learn lessons about how to avoid unintended negative consequences and decisions that might be made,” said Professor Frank Peck, director of CRED.

Speakers and panelists included Professor David Bailey of Aston Business School, Ewan Green, Head of Economic Development for Dumfries & Galloway Council and Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE, Director of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal, at the University of Newcastle.

With tourism worth over £2bn to the Cumbrian economy Ian Stephens, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, spoke of the importance of considering in advance what decisions taken in the future might mean for the county: “We need to make sure that the government hear the rural and tourism voices. Today has been very useful in getting that information to make the case for Cumbria.”

Graham Haywood, Director of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said he hoped the event would spark debate about the opportunities Brexit might present for the region: “I think it’s been really good to see a wide ranging audience from business, local authorities and academia start thinking about what this means but also hopefully to be positive and try to turn Brexit into a real economic advantage for Cumbria.”