THE Government is unlikely to listen to Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott when she warns that the staffing of health and social care services would be in a "terrible position" if the number of migrants from eastern Europe falls after Brexit.

They are unlikely to listen because of who she is – a leading Labour politician with a political axe to grind.

Will they be more inclined to listen if a similar warning comes from within their own stable, for example, from Conservative-dominated North Yorkshire County Council?

Loading article content

The authority’s scrutiny of health committee has written to two Government ministers, the county’s MPs and the chair of the Health Select Committee to raise mounting concerns over a pending staffing crisis in social care.

The letter cites the end of student bursaries for nursing and midwifery as one factor, as well as low pay rates and the rising cost of living, but also calls for greater clarity about the rights of EU workers post-Brexit.

The value of migrant workers to the health and social care sector cannot be overstated, particularly in a sprawling rural county like North Yorkshire with a large proportion of older residents. It is vital that they are not discouraged from living and working here for the sake of these services, which are already struggling with budgets.

If the Government won’t listen to its political opponents on the matter, it is to be hoped it will heed warnings from within its own party and put in place a bureaucracy-light system for migrants to help maintain these crucial services.