Laura Sharman 10 August 2016

What impact will Brexit have on local government?

Here are some of the comments we received in response to our survey on what impact Brexit will have on local government finances:

"Brexit is a smaller concern than the death by a thousand cuts that we are currently experiencing from central government."

"I've just lost my job, which, although not as a direct result of Brexit, compounded the decision. I work in community engagement and public arts funding, and the loss of EU funding for those sorts of projects will mean more job losses in the are of cultural life enhancement as a tool for economic, social and life-enhancing regeneration."

"The real opportunity is to devolve services to local parish town and community councils, including the creation of such local councils in the remaining urban areas.

"The current situation of not knowing when Article 50 will be enacted has left local government unable to effectively plan resources and policy to counteract negative impacts of Brexit. Services currently supported by EU funding cannot plan for their future and, ultimately, residents will be impacted even further if we cannot plan for the impending loss of funding."

"While the economic picture may still be blurry, local government is ideally situated to deliver the best outcomes in partnership with its communities following Brexit."

"It would be naïve for anyone to think that the economic decline caused by Brexit will not further damage local government finances, resulting in yet more cuts to public services."

"I work for a large Northern Council on a new employment programme which is funded by the EU (European Social Funding). This will come to an end in December 2018 and it is likey that up to 70 staff will have to be made redundant as there will be no new funding streams to replace the current grant. I am very concerned that the new Government will choose not to support these types of local government programmes (especially those in deprived Northern cities which were previously priority areas for the EU)."

"It seems at odds that the areas where councils and communities rely most heavily on EU funding and policy are the ones where the vote for Brexit was strongest. Unless Central Government plans to ensure resources are still directed to these areas, there will be real social and economic problems in the future."

"The main problem currently is the uncertainty; being unclear of the impacts and whether what results we are seeing will be short, medium or long term, is making it difficult to know what to do to deal with any impact."

"I don't think either the risks or the opportunities have fully hit home yet. Workforce issues, especially in the social care supply chain, are likely to be a significant post-Brexit issue that will drive costs upwards. However, as Whitehall reengineers itself to deliver against a new set of challenges, there is an opportunity for a new constitutional settlement between central and local government, which goes well beyond the opportunistic deal based devolution we've seen to date."

"The key message following Brexit is one of 'returning power to the people'. This cannot be achieved without putting local government at the heart of empowering communities. Given the probability of economic recession, the government should also consider relaxing its position on austerity, I would favour a Keynesian approach to public spending for the next few years."

Read the full results of our survey here.

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