Brexit should mean more power for councils, says LGA

30 Mar 17

Brexit must offer new legislative freedoms and flexibilities for councils, says the Local Government Association.

Power should be handed down to local government as well as to the administrations of the four countries in the UK, Lord Porter, chairman of the councils’ membership group stated.

The call comes today as the government unveils the Great Repeal Bill – the white paper which outlines how the government intends to bring EU law back onto the UK's statute books.

David Davis, secretary of state for exiting the EU, said: “This white paper lays out a pragmatic and principled approach to converting EU law into UK law on the day we leave the EU — giving businesses, workers and investors as much certainty as possible.”

Lord Porter said Brexit would have a “significant impact on local government, creating challenges that need to be addressed” but he added that it would offer opportunities to do things differently.

He continued: “Brexit should not simply mean a transfer of powers from Brussels to Westminster, Holyrood, Stormont and Cardiff Bay.

“It must lead to new legislative freedoms and flexibilities for councils so that residents and businesses benefit.”

Taking decisions over how to run local services closer to where people live is key to improving them and saving money, he added.

He also called for a “fully-funded and locally-driven successor scheme” to take over administering the £5.3bn of EU regeneration funding allocated to local areas in England by 2020.

The money is aimed at creating jobs, support business and boost local growth across the country.

Lord Porter said: “The government also needs to begin work with local government to develop a fully-funded and locally-driven successor scheme which gives local areas full control over spending.”

Davis’ announcement follows yesterday’s historic triggering of Article 50 by Theresa May which formally begun Britain’s two-year divorce procedure - which will see the country leave the EU.

Under the plans outlined in the white paper the Great Repeal Bill will revoke the European Communities Act 1972 — returning power to UK elected representatives and institutions.

It will convert EU law into domestic law when the UK leaves the European Union, with the aim of allowing any changes to be made in a "timely fashion".

CIPFA has announced it was launching an independent advisory commission on Brexit to consider the implications for the public sector.

The commission will be chaired by former Liberal Democrat MP Julia Goldsworthy.

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