Britain should seek both Single Market and reformed free movement, argue Policy Network and Open Britain

It is not too late for the Government to change course and pursue a Brexit strategy that retains full participation within the Single Market while also reforming the free movement of people, a new pamphlet by Open Britain and Policy Network makes clear today.

The pamphlet, ‘Reform or Reject? Freedom of Movement and the Single Market’, argues that the UK Government can both enact domestic immigration reforms and lead on Europe-wide changes to freedom of movement, which could be compatible with continued membership of the Single Market.

Experts at Policy Network have spoken with European officials and politicians and concluded there could be an appetite for immigration reform in Europe, as mainstream politicians deal with populist, anti-immigration forces across the Continent.

The paper argues that the UK has strong cards to generate goodwill amongst EU partners, but warns attitudes towards the UK are hardening amongst the EU27 and the UK must adopt a new diplomatic strategy based on generating goodwill, for example by guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. 

Specific reforms to free movement could include restrictions on benefits paid to migrants; rules to prevent jobs being advertised abroad before they are advertised in the UK; or sector-specific emergency brakes.

And public concerns about immigration could be partly assuaged by domestic reforms, for example by founding Wages and Training Councils which could work to raise the skill-levels, productivity and pay in sectors dependent on EU migrants.

The pamphlet is backed by, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain. Writing in the forward of the pamphlet, he says:

Even at this late stage, it is not too late for the Prime Minister to chart a different course. That is the conclusion of the excellent new pamphlet released today by Policy Network and Open Britain. It makes clear that a more intelligent, subtle diplomatic strategy – based on goodwill rather than grandstanding – could win a Brexit deal for Britain that both retains our membership of the Single Market and gives us more control over the immigration system.”


The full pamphlet can be seen here: