LGA calls for councils to be involved in Brexit talks

17 Jul 17

Councils must be included in vital discussions about converting EU law into British law, the Local Government Association has stated.

Following the publication of the European Union (Withdrawal Bill), known as the Repeal Bill, the LGA has restated the importance of consulting local authorities about the “significant impact” exiting the EU will have on councils.

Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, said: "EU laws impact on many of the council services that affect people's day-to-day lives.

“These range from deciding how to protect people from being served unsafe food when they eat out to regulating how councils buy goods and services.”

He added: "Local government must play a central role in deciding whether to keep, amend or scrap EU laws once they are converted into domestic law.”

Porter renewed a call - made in March - that leaving the EU should not simply be a transfer of powers from Brussels to Westminster, Holyrood, Stormont and Cardiff Bay but should also offer “new legislative freedoms and flexibilities”, which will benefit councils and businesses.

He added: “Taking decisions over how to run local services closer to where people live is key to improving them and saving money.”

On Thursday, the secretary of state for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, announced that the Repeal Bill will give Britain “maximum certainty, continuity and control” as it leaves the union.

He called on the country to work together to ensure the country has a fully functioning legal system on the day the Britain leaves.

According to the government the bill has three key aims, to remove supremacy of EU law and return control to the UK, to convert EU law into UK law where appropriate and to create the necessary temporary powers to correct the laws that no longer operate appropriately once Britain is no longer an EU member.

Labour’s top team - Jeremy Corbyn, Keir Starmer and Diane Abbott - met with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier on Thursday to discuss the progress of the Brexit talks.

After the meeting Corbyn said: “Labour has extended the hand of partnership for a new relationship with Europe and we outlined how our goal of a jobs-first Brexit deal would protect our mutual trading interests.

“We set out Labour’s Brexit priorities in contrast to the race-to-the-bottom tax haven threatened by the Conservatives.”

The Liberal Democrats have warned that Brexit could slash £97bn from the UK economy in the long-term, reducing tax receipts by £36bn.

The anti-Brexit party citied an Office of Budget Responsibility report, which came out this month and stated future tax receipts were "particularly vulnerable" to the impact of Brexit on the financial sector, which could face up to 60,000 job losses.

Rob Whiteman, chief executive of CIPFA, said: "The introduction of the ‘Repeal Bill’ signals that the government is committed to ensuring a smooth transition period once the UK has left the EU.

"Although we are yet to find out how much real change there will be to legislation, if there are any developments to laws that affect public services then it is in the national interest to ensure there is enough parliamentary scrutiny to avoid adverse consequences."

To help parliament understand the significance of laws and regulation affecting public services and the impact of Brexit on the sector as a whole, CIPFA has established a Brexit Advisory Commission which aims to develop an authoritative, strong and convincing case for a Brexit deal that will protect and boost the sustainability of the sector for the benefit of communities.

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