Lincolnshire

County council predicts Brexit opportunities

County council bosses are exploring the impact that Brexit will have on the authority’s services ahead of the UK leaving the European Union.

The government is currently negotiating a deal with EU officials following the UK’s decision to leave the union in June 2016.

Recently, local authorities have produced impact assessments ahead of the official leave date on March 29, 2019.

Lincolnshire voted overwhelmingly to leave two years ago and now leader of the county council, Martin Hill, has said that the authority is assessing the effect of the decision.

Lincolnshire County Council offices, Lincoln.

Lincolnshire voted overwhelmingly to leave two years ago and now leader of the county council Martin Hill has said that the authority is assessing the effect of the decision.

Councillor Hill said the council is currently measuring the impact and the “opportunities” Brexit will bring.

He said: “The people of Lincolnshire voted strongly for Brexit and we believe there will be a bright future for our county once we have left the EU.

“I think the transition will be much smoother than some people are suggesting, although there is, of course, the potential for teething problems, as with any major change of this nature.

“With that in mind, we are currently exploring the possible impact on the both the county and the council itself.

“However, while many seem obsessed with the potentially negative consequences, we think it’s equally important to look at the opportunities our departure from the EU will bring, particular the greater freedom we’ll enjoy in our trading relationships and hopefully less bureaucracy.”

It comes as councils across the country have published assessments of the impact on their areas.

Authorities revealed the reports as the government delays revealing its own analysis of what a “no deal” scenario would mean for the UK.

Pembrokeshire Council released a risk report suggesting that, out of 19 ways it thinks that Brexit will have an impact on the authority, just one was positive.

The authority listed “imposition of border controls” and “availability of vital supplies – foodstuff and medicines” as negative, but said less demand on services because people might move away was a positive.

But councils in the north east of the country, including Newcastle and Northumberland, have not carried out any assessments.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, Local Government Association.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and chairman of the Local Government Association’s Brexit Taskforce, said that local authorities need to be ready when the UK leaves the EU.

He said: “The UK’s exit from the EU will have a significant impact on local government, creating challenges that need to be addressed but also opportunities to do things differently.

“Councils up and down the country are taking a lead on preparations for Brexit because our residents and our local businesses expect us to be ready.

“These documents represent councils preparing for what the practical implications of a Brexit negotiation may be.

“Brexit will ultimately be judged as a success or failure by localities: real people in real communities.

“That’s why we are working with government and engaging with the expertise of local government to ensure we get these crucial negotiations right for local communities.”

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