LOCAL businesses from across Oldham, Saddleworth, Royton and Shaw have met with the town’s MPS to discuss their views on Brexit.

The meeting, which also included the leader of Oldham Council, Cllr Sean Fielding and Craig Dean, vice-president of Oldham’s branch of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, was a round-table event which also made plans to support those affected by the UK’s departure from the EU.

It was organised by Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams in conjunction with the Chamber at Hack Oldham in Yorkshire Street and was also attended by Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon.

The range of views expressed by attendees covered the whole spectrum from those in favour of Brexit through to those who had serious concerns about the process and what the future holds for Oldham businesses and the UK as a whole. All raised concerns about the effect the EU referendum has already had on investment and on EU national staff.

After the event Debbie Abrahams said: “The purpose of this event was to listen to Oldham businesses about what they think the effects of leaving membership of the European Union will be and see how we can best help them, be it at a local or national level.

“Although there were a range of views, both for and against leaving the EU, the over-riding feeling was one of uncertainty and concern about the lack of preparation the Government has put into place.

“The Tories chaotic and lacklustre negotiations have meant the draft withdrawal agreement is a poor deal for the country harming jobs and workers’ rights, environmental protections and living standards.

“It was clear that businessmen and women across Oldham felt frustrated by this, the lack of clarity from Government and had real concerns about their businesses’ future, with 14,000 jobs across Oldham potentially affected.

“I would say a majority of the attendees felt they simply didn’t have enough information about what the implications Theresa May’s proposed deal with the EU might mean for them or, indeed, the businesses across the whole UK.”

Jim McMahon said: “From our discussions today it’s clear to me that the Brexit process is a challenging and worrying time for many businesses across the borough and it’s made worse by the uncertainty of a Tory party that’s being torn apart by in-fighting at this critical point of the negotiations.

“We will be working as a team with organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce to support local businesses and creating a cross-sector partnership is a key starting point to do that.”

Sean Fielding said: “It’s crucial to our vision of creating a thriving Oldham borough that we have a successful local economy. That’s why Debbie, Jim and I co-hosted this event with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to listen to local businesses owners and give them the chance to tell us how they feel about the Brexit process and what we can do to help and support them.”