Brokenshire pledges £56.5m to help councils deal with Brexit

28 Jan 19

Local authorities have been promised £56.5m to go towards Brexit preparations - £21.5m more than expected, the communities secretary has confirmed.

Councils will be able to decide how they spend their funding but the government expects they will use it for resources such as recruiting extra staff to provide information to residents.

James Brokenshire, communities secretary, said today: “Local authorities have a critical role to play in making a success of Brexit in their areas.

“My department is committed to ensuring councils have the support and the funding they need to prepare for an orderly exit from the EU and do appropriate contingency planning.”

Brokenshire added he would work with local leaders closely to ensure they are ready for “any Brexit scenario”.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government originally received £35m of a £2bn pot from Treasury to help councils cope with Britain leaving the EU, which is scheduled for 29 March.

PF today reported that councils were looking to dip into their reserves to deal with any additional costs brought by Brexit.

Brokenshire said he had decided to hand out an extra £21.5m to help local authorities “deliver essential services and keep residents well-informed”.

The funding will be split between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years, with £20m for each. A further £10m will be set aside for allocation in 2019-20 to “respond to specific local costs that may only become evident in the months after we exit the EU,” Brokenshire said.

A total of £1.5m will be allocated in 2018-19 only to local authorities with ports, which are facing an immediate impact. More details of the allocation and distribution of that funding to be announced shortly, the statement read.

The final £5m will be shared between teams within MHCLG and the local government sector for specific purposes, such as strengthening resilience preparations and supporting communities

The funds will be divided across the two financial years as follows:

  • All district councils will get £35,000;
  • All county councils will get £175,000;
  • All unitaries will get £210,000;
  • All combined authorities will receive £182,000.

Brokenshire had previously written to chancellor Philip Hammond to demand more money to deal with Brexit, after MHCLG was allocated £35m.

Last week, PF heard from Stephen Kinnock, chair of the APPG on post-Brexit funding, who was concerned over the lack of detail from the government on the money that will replace EU funding for the regions after Brexit.

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