West Midlands employers will continue to need EU migrants post -Bexit - and MEP Anthea McIntyre is preparing a guide to help businesses secure settled status for their staff.

She outlined the plan at a Conservative business lunch which she hosted in Birmingham with fellow West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative employment spokesman in  the European Parliament,  said the West Midlands reported the fastest increase in employment in the UK last month.

She went on: "We also have a record number of job vacancies - and we rely on EU labour.

"About one third of migrant labour in the West Midlands is from the EU, totalling around 150,000 individuals."

She said that in the manufacturing sector, EU nationals made up 11% of the workforce regionally, while three quarters of manufacturing businesses employed at least one EU national: "Employers still need labour of all skill levels. 

"The government and the Prime Minister have been clear that we want EU nationals to be able to continue to live and work in the UK and we want to see the same deal for UK nationals in the EU."

She said a system of applying for settled status was planned to commence this autumn, which was intended to be swift, simple and straightforward and to cost no more than a passport fee.



An example from  the West Midlands was held up to MEPs as a model for corporate social responsibility during a debate in the European Parliament.

Anthea McIntyre said more and more companies were embracing the fact that they were part of their community - and she reminded them of an early example from her own region.

She told how chocolate giant Cadbury voluntarily developed Bournville - a model village on the south side of Birmingham – for their factory workers to live in. It was described as one of the nicest places to live in Britain.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, was speaking during a debate in Strasbourg on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

She said: "Cadbury really put social responsibility at the heart of their company’s ethos."

As Conservative employment spokesman, Miss McIntyre has spoken against any legislative imposition of CSR requirements and believes that true social and environmental responsibility involves going beyond a company's legal requirements.

She said: "Many companies are progressively integrating CSR into their company strategies on a voluntary basis and they should be welcomed and encouraged.

"It is not just a benefit to society; it benefits the company too, often helping them to compete in the labour market and to become an employer of choice.

"I would like to see the Commission and Member States promoting the voluntary take up of CSR initiatives. But let’s ensure that companies always retain the flexibility and freedom to shape their own CSR policies according to their specific circumstances and the needs of their employees."

MEP Anthea McIntyre has warmly welcomed the announcement of a deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority to build more than 200,000 extra new homes.

She said the announcement should provide "important fuel" for the West Midlands engine.

A £350 million package of Government support, to include a land fund of £100 million announced in the Chancellor's statement today, will mean thousands more homes built over the next 12 years.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the wider West Midlands region, said: "The West Midlands Engine project is all about improving our skills and technology to put ourselves at the forefront of creating prosperity and jobs.

"That momentum can stall if there are not enough proper homes for a growing workforce to live. This investment will tackle one of the major obstacles to our progress and will provide important fuel for the engine."

Anthea McIntyre, Conservative agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, has been appointed to a special committee on pesticides and will lead as Coordinator for the European Conservatives and Reformists group.

The committee has been set up in the wake of an attempt by some MEPs to ban the popular weedkiller glyphosate.

Sitting for nine months, it will examine the scientific evaluation of glyphosate, the world's most commonly-used weed killer, which was eventually relicensed for five years by the EU in December after months of uncertainty.

The committee will also consider wider issues around the authorisation of pesticides and how the EU applies scientific advice in weighing risk.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said:  "My message will be that the science must come first, last and always in deciding the safety and effectiveness of pesticides.

"Scare stories and rogue studies must never lead the process. Instead we need to weigh the full body of scientific research and heed the advice of our own experts.

"The glyphosate controversy was a prime example of people putting scaremongering before science for reasons of political convenience.  It nearly resulted in farmers losing their most effective weapon against plant pests, with zero gain for public health.

"A ban would have been bad for rural livelihoods, bad for food prices and bad for the environment - because alternatives methods to using glyphosate harm biodiversity."

Miss McIntyre will be joined on the Committee by her fellow West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton.

Anthea McIntyre has been appointed Spokesman on Agriculture and Rural Affairs for Britain's Conservative MEPs.

She is herself a grower and vineyard-owner on a small scale in her home county of Herefordshire.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, has been a member of the Agriculture Committee and the Employment Committee since she joined the European Parliament in 2011.

She has pursued a keen interest in promoting the potential of farming technology and has been a vocal opponent of attempts to ban the use of the weedkiller glyphosate.

Her appointment was announced yesterday (Weds) as she hosted a meeting in the parliament for the European Landowners' Organisation to explore the scope for applying "big data" in agriculture.

She told the meeting: "With the future of farming becoming increasingly data-driven and data-enabled, the key area for policy development will be on the use and ownership of all this data.

"Without a supportive regulatory regime, European industry will relocate to more dynamic markets."
 
On her appointment, she said: "I am delighted to be entrusted with this key portfolio.

"Managing our countryside sympathetically and putting food on our tables are both vital tasks. I firmly believe the right broad approach for legislators is to help farmers to do this in a sustainable way rather than by hindering them with over-regulation."

"We may be leaving the EU, but I expect EU rules and standards to continue to be part of our agricultural structure for some time to come. It is important that we continue to have an influence over its direction for as long as possible."