REGARDLESS of one’s views on Brexit itself there can be no doubt that the decision to hold a referendum and plunge our country into time-consuming negotiations with the European Union is proving disastrous for ordinary people in Britain and especially for those in the very regions which voted to leave the EU.

On a recent visit to London I was shocked to see so many people sleeping in public places, on the streets and around railway stations. It is much worse now than on my earlier visits.

I understand from friends in other cities that the problem of homelessness is growing rapidly there too, year on year. The current housing crisis affects not just those in such acute need but all sectors of the population, except the very wealthy.

The Joseph Rountree Foundation has just published a report showing that the number of children and pensioners in poverty has significantly increased over the past few years.

Wages for working people both in the private and public sectors have not kept up with inflation for almost a decade now. Parents are being asked to help finance the running of their children’s schools.

The number of apprenticeships in industry is declining, our country’s productivity is far lower than many other countries and falling even further behind. The NHS is under severe financial pressure and there is no solution yet in sight for the acute problem of care for the elderly.

Our politicians have no time at present to seriously consider any of these problems, being fully occupied with discussions and legislation arising from our planned exit from the EU. All this is on top of the continuing effects of the financial crisis nine years ago.

The future is bleak, whether we achieve a new partnership with the EU or not.

Leaving without a favourable trade agreement would be a disaster. I note that many of the politicians advocating such a course are probably wealthy enough to survive the consequences. Most of us are not so fortunate.

It would have been far better to support those trying to reform the European Union and remain in it, thus saving our time to concentrate instead on our own urgent social and industrial problems.

What on earth is the good of negotiating with Brussels to ‘get one’s country back’ if, in the meantime, the economic situation in Britain is allowed to deteriorate and social injustice steadily increase?

Peter D. Leeming