Letter urges council to prepare and test for impact of no-deal Brexit but offers ‘paltry’ resources
The Green Group of Councillors have hit back at Conservative Government Minsters after a letter suggesting councils ‘step up’ their preparation for a
no-deal Brexit was received by Brighton and Hove City Council this week.
The letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government incorporates a ‘local authority preparedness check list,’ which Secretary of State James Brokenshire says will set out the ‘expectations in terms of local authority preparedness between now and the end of March.’
The list calls on the council to plan for major problems with maintaining council services, care homes, schools or waste plants; with communications and transport and resources for the most vulnerable. Stating that ‘The UK’s exit from the EU has created significant tensions as well as mis-information and/or expectations in communities’ the letter also requests that councils prepare for increased community tensions or hate crime.
Greens say ‘paltry’ Government pledges of cash and resource support for local councils come nowhere mitigating the potential impact Brexit may cause in Brighton and Hove. Accusing the Conservative Government of ‘buck passing,’ Greens say the actions suggested by the Government load the responsibility for the Government’s chaotic Brexit onto local councils and communities, and will be impossible without sufficient local funding.
Pointing to repeated requests made by the Green Group for information on the impact of Brexit on the city, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said:
“This letter from the Conservative minister for councils is unbelievable. Weeks before a possible ‘no deal’ plunges our residents into huge uncertainty, the paltry advice from the government has only been outmatched by the paltry amount on offer from the minister. The cash won’t come anywhere near helping our council count the heavy cost of a no deal Brexit. What’s clear is that the Minister is happy to pass the buck for no deal Brexit. The events of this week tell us this government is intent on putting the unity of the Conservative party ahead of the needs of our residents.
“Since the date of the referendum Green Councillors have been requesting detailed information from central Government about what Brexit will mean for Brighton and Hove –drawing blood from a stone would have been easier. Almost two and a half years after the referendum we are still in the dark. The information we have managed to get makes for grim reading: as many as 250 local projects could stand to lose EU funding. A no deal crash out will hit our city heavily in key sectors of the local economy- services exports, research & digital. Productivity will be damaged. Councils already need a further £8bn by 2025 just to stand still. We cannot withstand a Brexit double-whammy too.
“The only way we now can avoid a disastrous no deal Brexit is with a People’s Vote.”
The letter from Secretary of State James Brokenshire, January 31st 2019, is available here:
‘Greens demand answers on what Brexit will mean for Brighton and Hove’: