Official figures showing a 40% rise in the number of non UK EU nationals working in the care sector have prompted fears of a potential exodus following the Brexit vote.

According to figures, which were  released in an answer to a parliamentary question, the non-UK EU workforce rose from 65,000 in December 2013 to 92,000 in September 2016, The Observer reported.

Tory chair of the Commons health committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston, said: “I am very concerned about existing workers, but I am also concerned about future staff.

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“The government has to ensure that those who need care are not left high and dry when we leave the EU.”

European workers account for 7% of the UK’s social care workforce.

The percentage varies greatly by region from 2% in the north-east to 12% in London.

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake commented: “These figures show how incredibly reliant our social care services are on hard-working EU nationals. This government’s Hard Brexit plans, and refusal to guarantee EU nationals the right to stay, risk sparking a disastrous exodus of workers on whom our health and care system depend.

“There are people who contribute hugely to our society and look after our disabled and elderly, yet Theresa May is insisting on using them as pawns in Brexit negotiations.”

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The author Lee Peart

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