Communities secretary tells local councils to 'step up' no-deal Brexit planning

James Brokenshire says 2016 vote 'created significant tensions as well as misinformation and/or expectations in communities'

Samuel Osborne
Friday 01 February 2019 00:45
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Local councils in England should “step up” preparations for a no-deal Brexit, the communities secretary has said.

In letter James Brokenshire said it was “essential” they were “all undertaking the necessary local planning and preparations” in case Britain left the European Union (EU) without a deal.

He also urged county councils to ensure they mitigate “any short-term adverse impacts”.

Mr Brokenshire said Brexit had “created significant tensions as well as misinformation and/or expectations in communities”.

Council members may have an important role in providing “timely updates” to local businesses on the UK’s settled status scheme and “clarity of information” in response to “any risks of potential heightened community tensions”, he said.

His letter emerged after it was revealed that contingency plans drawn up by the European Commission said the UK would keep paying into the EU budget for years after a no-deal Brexit.

The proposals laid out plans for the Britain to keep up its payments for the 2019 EU budget and beyond.

It comes as MPs faced the prospect of having their February break cancelled as the government struggles to make progress on Brexit.

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said the House may need to continue to sit to “make progress on the key business” before it, adding constituents would expect this to happen “at this important time”.

Downing Street later said parliamentary staff who had to cancel planned holidays or faced other additional expenses as a result of the decision would be compensated, but MPs would not be covered.

The Commons was expected to rise at the end of business on 14 February and return on 25 February.

But with time running out for politicians to approve all necessary legislation ahead of Brexit on 29 March, it was suggested they stay on to work on the deal.

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