English councils ordered to appoint ‘Brexit leads’

5 Aug 19

The government has pledged a new £10m package to English councils and told them to appoint designated Brexit leads for their organisations.

A total of £20m will be handed to councils for them to step up no deal Brexit planning, although half of this comes from a £58m package already announced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

New communities secretary Robert Jenrick told councils to step up “vital preparations” for EU exit on 31 October.

Jenrick said: “Local government has a vital role in helping to make Brexit a success and it is absolutely right that together we intensify preparations in every community.

“And to do this I have asked every council to appoint a Brexit lead to work with government. We’ll be providing £20m for councils to support the major step up in preparations.”

Jenrick said that the money would be used to support a “range of activity” including communications, training and recruitment of staff.

The government said it is currently considering how best to allocate funding to ensure that the worst affected areas – such as ports - get the funds they need.

Kevin Bentley, chair of the Local Government Association’s Brexit taskforce, said: “Brexit will affect local areas in different ways, and Brexit preparations must reflect local circumstances. Local leaders are best placed to ensure preparations are directed where there is most need.

“There remains information and advice gaps that councils are facing while helping their communities prepare, which need to be met by the government.”

The announcement comes less than a week after the chancellor ploughed a further £2.1bn into no deal Brexit planning.

In January, then communities secretary James Brokenshire promised nearly £60m to help councils mitigate the impact of Brexit – rising from an initial £35m.

PF reported earlier this year that several councils were planning on using their reserves to soften any financial blow that comes when Brexit happens.

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