Chamber condemns Racism fallout from Brexit vote

1st July 2016

In the aftermath of the EU referendum debate, there is an immediate issue emerging where our collective leadership is needed.

We are all, rightly, focusing much of our attention on the impact that the referendum vote will have on Chamber member businesses. Yet, at the same time,  there is something ugly happening right now in our cities, towns and counties that we must address. That something is affecting people whom many of us call co-workers and friends. It is racism. It is discrimination. Sadly, it is spiking, right now, all around us. Businesses around the country are reporting reprehensible verbal and physical attacks targeting people from other parts of the European Union. These individuals have done nothing wrong. They have done little more than work hard and make significant contributions to local businesses — side-by-side with their UK-born and global coworkers. Many individuals and many businesses are understandably worried about a rising climate of fear. EU nationals in Britain have to contend with this at the same time that they face uncertainty over their future rights to live and work in the UK — something that we will work hard to guarantee, in the interests of our businesses and their employees alike. Chambers of Commerce have long played a local leadership role, and we pride ourselves on making the places where we do business better. This is a time for us to put our centuries-old civic commitment into action. We must step up, and confront the ugly phenomenon of discrimination that is affecting people in our communities and in our own businesses. We must be clear. Businesses are proud of the contribution that their UK, EU and global employees make - and we say no to racism and discrimination following the EU referendum vote. We have much to do in the wake of the period of change and transition brought in by the referendum. Discrimination, though, is something we must tackle right away - in the interests of Chamber members and the business communities we call home.

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