Councils in England to receive over £50 million to support Brexit preparations
Local authorities across England will receive a share of £56.5 million to help support their preparations for Brexit.
Local authorities across England will receive a share of £56.5 million to help support their preparations for Brexit, ministers announced today (28 January 2019).
The Treasury announced in December that MHCLG would receive £35 million to prepare for Brexit. MHCLG has now added an extra £21.5 million funding using finance from its 2018 to 2019 budget.
Councils will receive £20 million this financial year (2018 to 2019) and £20 million in 2019 to 2020 to spend on planning and strengthening their resources.
A further £10 million will be available in the next financial year (2019 to 2020). This funding is intended to help local authorities with specific costs which may arise following Brexit.
£1.5 million will be allocated in 2018 to 2019 only to local authorities facing immediate impacts from local ports, with the decision on the allocation and distribution of that funding to be announced shortly.
A further £5 million will be split by teams in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local authorities, and Local Resilience Forums for specific purposes such as strengthening preparations and supporting communities.
The funding will help councils to adapt to the changes caused by Brexit, ensuring their local authority is prepared ahead of 29 March, whilst also protecting vital local services.
In one example reported by Kent Online, preparing Kent’s roads to deal with congestion and disruption that could be caused by Brexit is costing the taxpayer close to £29m.
The county council says the cost of work needed on Kent’s roads and other schemes – chiefly for holding thousands of lorries – has come in at £28.8m.
This includes details such as £3.26m being spent on signs and signals while £4.95m has been allocated for what are described as “traffic technology systems.”
Councils will ultimately decide how to allocate their funding.
It is expected that money will be spent on resources like recruiting extra staff to ensure councils have the capacity to provide timely and accurate information to residents who have questions on how Brexit will affect them.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said:
“Local authorities have a critical role to play in making a success of Brexit in their areas.
I’m determined to ensure councils have the resources they need, which is why I’m releasing £56.5 million of extra finance to help them to deliver essential services and keep residents well-informed.
I will continue to work closely with local leaders to ensure they are prepared to respond to any Brexit scenario.”
This funding will not be the only resource councils receive from central government to fund Brexit costs. The government has been clear that departments will assess and, if appropriate, fund any potential new requirements of councils as part of EU Exit work they are undertaking.
The Secretary of State will also continue to engage with the sector through the EU Exit Local Government Delivery Board and regular communications with stakeholders across the sector.