Laura Sharman 24 June 2016

Brexit: Local government facing ‘policy vacuum’

Local government has been warned to brace itself for further austerity measures and a possible shake-up of the devolution agenda, following the results of the EU referendum.

Law firm Bevan Brittan said the results will lead to a ‘policy vacuum’ in local government, especially if chancellor George Osborne – who has been at the heart of the devolution agenda - also steps down from office.

Local government partner at the firm, Bethan Evans, said: ‘The devolution agenda has been driven to a large extent personally by George Osborne as Chancellor - can this survive a change in his role?

‘More immediately, the fall out from the Brexit vote could have other impacts on local government. George Osborne proposed an emergency budget in the event of a 'leave' Vote - if this now happens, and follows the previous approach to austerity, local government can expect to bear the brunt of further measures.’

Ms Evans added that local authorities should ensure they adhere to all legal requirements until the exit process is completed, whether policy is informed directly from a EU source or not.

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