In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference, the Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged that local areas with existing EU funding agreements signed off by the time we exit the EU would receive replacement funding.
We welcomed the announcement, having urged the Government to guarantee replacement funding following the referendum.
We are now calling for assurances that local areas will receive every penny of the £5.3 billion in EU funding, or replacement funding, they are expecting by the end of the decade.
Prime Minister Theresa May has also pledged to consult with municipal leaders across the country to ensure Brexit works for everyone. We will continue to work with government ministers and departments to make sure local government’s views are put forward as the country prepares its negotiating strategy.
The LGA’s Leadership Board met recently to discuss the implications of Brexit on local government and refine the focus of our preparations. Following discussions with members and councils, the board agreed five priority areas that will inform our negotiating strategy:
Local government’s position post-Brexit
Brexit provides us with an opportunity to broaden the scope of decision-making in England. Initially, we will identify the major issues we should focus on, which may include further work to determine how we can enhance the current programme of devolution deals and thinking about how best to tailor this to a post-Brexit landscape.
We will continue to seek assurances that the £5.3bn of EU funding committed to local regeneration schemes up to 2020 is secured. We will also aim to unravel councils’ obligations to EU finance and auditing rules from past receipts of EU funds. Further work will include influencing the post 2020 funding regime, particularly in terms of ensuring that local government plays a central role in any future industrial strategy, and examining the possibilities of continued access to European Investment Bank Loans and other EU funding programmes post 2020.
Developing a new legal base for local government
We have publicly emphasised that replacement laws or regulation should not be centralised in Whitehall but be based on a devolved approach where appropriate. The first phase of achieving this goal will be to identify the top priorities that local government representatives should focus on during negotiations out of the many hundreds of EU Decisions, Regulations and Directives that affect local government in England. LGA policy boards will be discussing these issues in more detail.
We will be looking to examine how locally developed services can contribute to improved social cohesion. We will also be working with partners, in particular the NHS and social care providers, to assess the impacts of Brexit on the public sector workforce and developing joint proposals for Government accordingly.
We are continuing to emphasise to Government that the consequences of Brexit and access to the single market are likely to impact on places across the country differently. We are committed to providing a hub for such information so it can be fed into negotiations, but to do so we need to know how more about the risks and opportunities to your local area. Information can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board agreed to move forward on these priorities and work will now begin to further refine our approach. As always we are eager to hear your views so please contact us by emailing email@example.com.