Registered: Aug 2002
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The Government Has Announced New Funding For Spaceports - But Brexit Is Already Worrying The UK Space Industry
The bigger problem, in Rafael’s opinion, comes from the core grievance at the heart of the Brexit: The movement of people. Even the most optimistic scenarios for an incredibly soft Brexit point towards limiting freedom of the movement - the ability for people to live and work in any European country. The much-heralded Chequers Whitepaper repeatedly uses the phrase “freedom of movement will end” - and this is annoying news for the space industry.
“Restrictions on how people will be able to move in and out of the UK, will have a massive impact in companies like ours”, Rafael said. “We have people of 15 nationalities in our company, because we go for the best global talent and we attract them to the UK.”
“Brexit has been really very hard and has spread concerns among people who have to move with their families here. They are uncertain about the situation, and any uncertainty doesn’t help when you try to take decisions like this.”
“So on the talent side I must say that yes, we’ve felt the impact and we’ve felt it strongly. The talent pool in the UK for some of the positions that we are looking for is simply [lacking] or non-existent. I think that’s a big pity because, yeah the UK is missing out on so much global talent and so many possibilities. That shouldn’t be happening.”
And I think this is the crazy, contradictory, thing: While it is great that the government is supporting the space industry in principle, it being hell-bent on Brexit is massively undermining this.
Chris Grayling, the aforementioned transport secretary, was and still is one of the most hardcore Brexiteers. If the British space industry is to succeed it needs to have access to the most talented people: Sure, highly skilled rocket scientists might not have as much difficulty getting a visa as a Polish plumber after Brexit, but whatever system we have short of free movement is still going to be extra layers of bureaucracy and bullshit for companies and individuals to wade through, making Britain a less appealing place to work and do business. This added friction will in the view of both myself and objective reality, by definition, be bad for business, bad for the space industry, and bad for Britain.
My wife accused me of being immature. I told her to get out of my fort.
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