Deputy Leader calls on Government to help communities after Brexit

5 July 2019

The Deputy Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council is calling on Government to consider the pressing needs of local communities when making its Brexit planning.

Councillor Karen Shore has revealed the challenges Brexit would pose for Cheshire West and nationwide in a powerful speech to councillors from across England and Government officials at the Local Government Association Conference. She was invited to speak on behalf of local government, since Cheshire West and Chester’s preparations for Brexit are regarded as national good practice.

Representatives from the Home Office, Department for Exiting the European Union and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government listened as Cllr Shore described the impact leaving the EU would have on funding, legislation, skills and jobs. 

In reference to her home town of Ellesmere Port, Cllr Shore told the annual conference: “In the town of Ellesmere Port, where I grew up and live and where I am elected, that impact has never been more keenly felt. 

“It’s an industrial town, home to the Vauxhall car plant that produces the Astra. In 2017, the PSA Group took control of the business and just last week, they announced that the outcome of Brexit negotiations would be critical to the future of the plant. 

“No Deal Brexit means No Deal for Ellesmere Port - placing more than 1000 jobs at risk and not just those jobs in the plant. But the thousands of jobs within the existing supply chain.”

 Cllr Shore also told the conference:
  • with 70% of local government legislation coming from the EU, the impact of Brexit on regulated areas, such as Trading Standards, must be communicated quickly
  • additional funding is urgently needed to help local government manage all legislative changes
  • local authorities need to continue to press the Government to explain how, and by how much, it will replace the funding they currently receive from the EU
  • devolution is more important than ever, so authorities have the power and flexibility to target the specific needs of their local communities and businesses 
  • support should be offered to businesses which potentially may lose skilled workers from non-UK EU countries
  • the resilience of local economies across the country is likely to be severely tested.
Cllr Shore added: “Brexit will undoubtedly bring with it a number of challenges; some of which I’ve outlined; but it can also provide opportunities - not by moving from a centralised governance system in Brussels to one in London, but by giving local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships the power to do what’s right for their places and their people; and this is something that we should all continue to push for.”

Cllr Shore chaired a cross party member working group earlier in the year to understand the local implications of the UK leaving the European Union. Using evidence and expert advice gathered from businesses and residents, the group came up with 26 practical recommendations.

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