Hampshire County Council making ‘contingency plans’ amid fears of Brexit expense
CONCERNS have been raised about the additional financial pressures Brexit will put on local authorities as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
The leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, says there are ‘extra costs’ to consider ahead of Brexit next month.
Cllr Perry is also worried about the ‘difficult and complex’ situation that could arise at Portsmouth International Port, following a county council report in December last year that warned of ‘significant’ delays at the port in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
At a recent meeting, top politicians at Hampshire County Council spoke with local authorities, police and fire services about the potential impact of different Brexit scenarios with MPs from the county’s constituencies.
Councils across the Solent have already faced funding cuts from central government, adding financial pressure on the services currently provided.
Cllr Perry said: ‘This was an important opportunity for Hampshire’s public sector organisations to talk to Hampshire’s MPs about the pressing issues we are facing, and share with them the resilient plans we have in place ready for various potentialities depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
‘We will continue to keep all local MPs informed of how Hampshire is preparing for various scenarios, so they can make any necessary representations to Government on Hampshire’s behalf.
‘A key issue we face is the extra costs associated with the contingency plans we are putting in place to minimise the impact of any uncertainty on local businesses and residents, whatever happens after March 29.’
A concern highlighted by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum (LRF) was the potential traffic congestion arising from delays to cross-channel ferries at Portsmouth International Port.
The LRF, which comprises emergency services, councils, businesses and voluntary organisations, has been working on the issue since July last year.
Cllr Perry added: ‘We are committed to working closely with our partners in the Local Resilience Forum to ensure that our collective resources are used to benefit all those who live and work in Hampshire.
‘Our clear priority is to make sure that we’re as prepared as we can be, and that we make that situation as smooth as we possibly can for the residents of Hampshire.
‘In a difficult and complex situation, with delicate negotiations still ongoing at government level, I want local residents to be assured that careful preparations are in hand through the Local Resilience Forum.’