Brexit latest: Local government priorities; place-based impact; and more...

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15 February 2017

Brexit Latest

Updates on the role councils are playing in negotiating Britain's exit from the EU

Britain and the EU

The potential implications of the UK’s decision to exit the European Union have been at the top of the news agenda following Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on her priorities for Brexit negotiations, the Supreme Court ruling on the triggering of Article 50 and the publication of the Government’s White Paper on 'The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union'.

We have continued our work to ensure the key issues affecting councils and their residents are central to preparations to leave the EU. Most recently, on 13 February we published our response to the White PaperWe welcomed the White Paper’s commitment to continue to devolve greater powers to local government ‘where there is economic rationale to do so’, and its reaffirmation of the Government’s previous commitments around protecting structural and investment funding. This chimed with the messages we received from David Jones MP, Minister of State, Department for Exiting the EU, when he addressed the EU Committee of the Regions’ Annual Delegation meeting at our offices in January. 

More generally, our response outlined the impact of the Government’s policy statements in the White Paper, the Prime Minister’s speech, the Industrial Strategy Green Paper and the Supreme Court judgement on local government’s priority recommendations for the Brexit negotiations. We will continue to present these views to MPs, Peers and the frontbench parliamentary teams.

Local government priorities

Following widespread consultation with councils, we set out local government’s five priority recommendations for the Brexit negotiations in our December briefing on Local Government and the EUThese headline priorities are: 

  • Autonomy of local government
    Responsibilities repatriated from the EU should not be centralised in Whitehall. We need devolution settlements to ensure responsibility for those powers are transferred to local authorities.
  • Developing a new legal base for local government
    There are many EU laws that affect the day job of local councils and the real world impact must be taken into account in the future review of UK laws of EU origin. This must lead to new legislative freedoms and flexibilities for councils so that communities, businesses and consumers can benefit.
  • Securing investment that is currently sourced from the EU
    The Government needs to begin developing a locally-driven, fully-funded growth policy to deliver its ambitions post-Brexit. This must be designed and delivered by local areas as an integrated replacement for EU funding and existing national schemes to support infrastructure, enterprise, and social cohesion.
  • Community cohesion
    Councils play the leading role in bringing communities together and will be important in tackling challenges such as the retention of skilled workers. For example, the adult social care workforce has a unique set of skills, but struggles with recruitment and retention. With 7 per cent of existing adult social care staff from other EU nations, securing a sustainable adult social care workforce and excellent care skills must be a priority for the Government. We are calling for urgent guarantees from Government to reform Whitehall’s national approach to commissioning employment and skills funding, worth £10.5 billion a year. It is currently fragmented, costly, and fails to address the challenges faced by residents and employers.
  • Addressing place-based impacts
    In partnership with the LGA, government departments must begin to address the real and varied impacts and opportunities of Brexit at the local level, in both urban and rural areas. We are consulting widely and building our evidence base to support the exit negotiations.

Legislative priorities 
You can read more about these five priority themes and also about local government’s 10 legislative priorities for Brexit in our December briefing. Our legislative priorities include public procurement, regulatory services, environment, waste, transport, employment/workforce, planning, economic development, local government finance, and data and public information.

Place-based impact
We are continuing to encourage you to tell us how you anticipate exiting the EU will affect your area in terms of local growth, local public services and regional funding. 

For each of these issues, we are looking for a flavour of the potential impact. Where possible, it would be helpful to include information on the scale of each issue, highlighting any disproportionate opportunities and/or risks. More detail on what to include in submissions is available in our November bulletin.

We are also interested in receiving information from local authorities about successful international commercial links they have developed with other local areas in Europe and beyond.

All information can be submitted to

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