By Local Democracy Reporter
THE Government has announced local authorities will receive thousands of pounds in extra cash to help prepare for the UK’s “orderly exit” from the European Union.
Unitary authorities including Southend and Thurrock will receive a total of £210,000 in extra funding over the next two years, while Essex County Council will get £175,000.
Details of the funding was announced on Monday by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire.
In a written statement posted on the Houses of Parliament website, he said: “Local government will play a critical role in making a success of Brexit at the local level. 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.
“Today I am announcing an additional £56.5 million to help councils carry out their preparations.
“Councils will receive £20 million this financial year as well as £20 million to spend in the next financial year to fund additional planning and capacity. Across the two years, all district councils will receive £35,000, all county councils will receive £175,000, all unitaries will receive £210,000 and all combined authorities will receive £182,000.”
He added that some local authorities facing an immediate impact due to ports will be allocated an additional £1.5million this year. The distribution of this funding has not been confirmed but could mean that Thurrock will benefit due to the Port of Tilbury.
Another £10million is being set aside by the Government’s housing department in case of “costs that may only become evident after we exit the EU”.
John Lamb, leader of Southend Council, said: “We welcome this announcement today, which acknowledges the key role local authorities will have in helping to deal with the potential impacts of Brexit at a local level as well as the demand these preparations are already having on business continuity planning.
“As a unitary authority, Southend is set to receive £210,000 phased over two years.
“Meanwhile, contingency planning for Brexit across wider Essex continues to be led by the Essex Resilience Forum, which brings together local authorities, blue light services and clinical commissioning groups.
“As Brexit draws closer, we are reviewing requirements and considering potential disruption of transport, fuel, supplies and labour, medical supplies and community relations. We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that we are prepared as we can be and to ensure that the local impact of Brexit is minimised.”