An extra £1.2 million has been allocated to help local authorities to prepare for Brexit, Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James announced today.
Up to £45,000 will be made available to each local authority in Wales, and a further £200,000 will be made available to them through the Welsh Local Government Association. The money will ensure there is a dedicated resource in each local authority to undertake the necessary planning, co-ordination and preparation work. It will be supported and co-ordinated by the WLGA across all local authorities to avoid duplication, maximise effectiveness and encourage cross local government delivery.
Over recent months, as local authorities have started to prepare in earnest for Brexit and the possibility of a no deal scenario, it has become clear that they need to increase their capacity to prepare and implement responses at a local level. While the reallocation and re-prioritisation of staff has happened across all local authorities, the extent of activity now needed for Brexit preparation means that they need to urgently ramp up their work to plan and prepare.
Announcing the funding, the minister said:
“Local authorities have a critical role to play in preparing for and responding to a no deal Brexit and other Brexit scenarios. If they are inadequately prepared, it will exacerbate the risks and issues faced by people, organisations and businesses and affect vital services such as health, social care and education.
“This needs to be a dedicated resource and not on top of the day job if it’s to be effective, given that much of the day job is delivery of essential services that are likely to have increased demands on them no matter what type of Brexit we end up having so this funding will help them to prepare more thoroughly.
“While it is not possible to fully mitigate the impacts of a no deal Brexit, we will continue to take action and help organisations across Wales to do all in our power to prepare for Brexit.”
Cllr Debbie Wilcox (Newport), WLGA Leader said:
“Local authorities are on the front line when it comes to mitigating the impact of Brexit on Welsh communities, organisations and businesses.
“We have been planning and preparing for different Brexit scenarios since the result of the referendum. But this has had to be done against a backdrop of great uncertainty over the direction of Brexit and at a time when local government is facing a raft of other pressures. Welsh local authorities have been in different positions in terms of the funding and capacity they’ve been able to dedicate to Brexit preparations.
“Today’s announcement of additional Welsh Government support is very much welcomed by all Welsh Local Authorities. The WLGA’s Brexit Support Programme to date has provided crucial centralised support to local authorities to prepare for Brexit and it is important this continues. The funding going to local authorities will ensure a dedicated resource is in place in each local authority to undertake the additional planning, coordination and preparation work associated with Brexit that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future."