William Eichler talks to Lawrence Webb, UKIP group leader on Havering Council, about why local government would be better off leaving the European Union.
Q: Why do you want the UK to leave the European Union?
A: This referendum is about one thing and one thing alone; who makes the laws that govern Britain. Currently most of our laws emanate from Brussels making the British Parliament irrelevant. Only when we leave the EU can we make laws that are in the British interest.
Q: What impact has the UK’s EU membership had on local authorities?
A: EU rules have a massive impact on the cost of how local authorities deliver our services. Perhaps the most notable of these are the various Directives on waste which add massively to the cost of how we as a local authority mange household refuse.
Q: What affect would leaving have on local authorities?
A: The council has a number of statutory responsibilities; housing the homeless, and providing school places. With uncontrolled immigration brought about by the “free movement of people” has meant that as a council we cannot easily budget for these thing when we cannot predict form one year to the next the numbers of people settling in the borough. To make matters worse central government has cut the funding to local authorities. If only part of our contribution to the EU budget were diverted to local authorities then we could better manage our services.
Q: What possible negative impacts could Brexit have at the local level?
A: None whatsoever.
Q: How would Brexit affect the financial situation of councils?
A: As already stated removing some of the EU regulations would make the delivery of services cheaper, and any additional funding from central government make it easier to deliver those statutorily services
Q: How might restrictions on immigration affect the make-up of the local government workforce?
A: There would be no impact in this borough. Recent budget cut have seen people laid off many of which could be rehired.
Q: How would leaving the EU impact upon housing in the UK?
A: The current housing crisis is one of supply and demand. Limiting the demand caused by mass uncontrolled immigration would inevitably relieve the pressure on our current housing stock.
Q: How would leaving the EU impact upon education in the UK?
A: There is currently a schools places crisis as there is one for housing. If we left the EU it would be easier for families to get their children into the school of their choice.
Q: What should councils do to prepare for Brexit should it happen?
A: Put the champagne on ice