Kirklees Council ramps up ‘no deal’ preparations

Kirklees Council ramps up ‘no deal’ preparations
By Tony Earnshaw
Local Democracy Reporter

KIRKLEES Council is deep into preparations for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.

Senior figures from the authority will be speaking with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay as the clock ticks down on the Prime Minister’s Halloween deadline.

The Government has allocated £20m to help councils prepare for a no deal scenario. Kirklees’s share of that money will be £104,984.

Officers and politicians have formed a ‘tactical team’, which has been meeting for some time and will draw down cash from the Government’s pot as needed.

Referring to the Government’s “worst outcome” Yellowhammer contingency plan, Sean Westerby of the council’s emergency planning team, said it had not been a surprise.

“That was the information that we have had all the time. But it’s a very fluid situation.

“We have tried to set ourselves up with a framework for the pulls and pushes that we might get through Brexit and different outcomes that might come of it.”

The council is to commission a report “as a matter of urgency” into the potential economic impacts of a no deal Brexit.

Among other areas it would look at trade, investment and migration.

Members of the council’s Corporate Scrutiny Panel sought clarity on how a no deal Brexit might affect the Kirklees community, from oncology services and care homes to looked-after children and food banks.

Mr Westerby said the council was getting assurances from the NHS that it was looking at all impacts and said the council was working on delivering key services.

Coun Graham Turner, the council’s political lead on Brexit, cautioned that the £20m released to Kirklees by the Government was, in fact, only £10m as the remainder was “old money” that had been previously committed.

He pledged that the authority was “doing all we can” to prepare and was liaising with the health service, the police and the voluntary sector in the run-up to October 31.

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