Local government has a seat at the Brexit table, says Clark

6 Jul 16

Greg Clark has said he has secured local government a “seat at the table” in negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union.

Speaking at the LGA’s annual conference in Bournemouth yesterday, Clark said that he had successfully argued in Whitehall that local government should be part of any team assembled for Brexit. He also said that leaving the EU should lead to a radically expanded role for local government.

The Local Government Association has been tasked with putting together a panel to represent the sector in Brexit talks

“In the days ahead I will ask Gary [Porter, chair of the LGA] to put together a team representing all parts of local government, all parties and all parts of the country to make sure we make good use of this seat at the table,” Clark stated.

LGA chief executive Mark Lloyd will also be involved in assembling the representatives, and Clark said the team would help ensure that Whitehall is not the default destination for powers that will be returned from the EU.

“For years we have been urging subsidiarity – the principle that power is held as close to the people as possible – on the European Union,” he stated.

“We now must apply it at home and ask first whether powers and funds can be transferred to local government.”

Clark also stated it was essential that the structural funds, which councils and local enterprise partnerships are expecting to receive as part of the 2014-2020 funding period were confirmed “as soon as possible”. Any changes to the allocations, which co-funding many projects, would be “madness” as this would put at risk major job-generating projects when they are already underway.

Clark’s comments come after the LGA had called for councils to play a leading role in Brexit negotiations.

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