RCT coun­cil braced for a no-deal Brexit

Cynon Valley - - NEWS - AN­THONY LEWIS an­[email protected]­line.co.uk

A VAL­LEYS coun­cil says it is look­ing at all ar­eas as it pre­pares for the pos­si­bil­ity of a no-deal Brexit.

At the lat­est Rhondda Cynon Taf full coun­cil meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, No­vem­ber 28, the coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Brad­shaw laid out the prepa­ra­tions the au­thor­ity was mak­ing.

With MPs set to vote on the Prime Min­is­ter’s deal with the EU next week, early in­di­ca­tions show that the deal Theresa May has struck may be de­feated in the House of Com­mons.

Mr Brad­shaw said: “If the deal is ap­proved, the risk will be mit­i­gated. But po­lit­i­cal opin­ion sug­gests a heavy de­feat and the risk then comes a sig­nif­i­cant re­al­ity.

“We have been part of Europe for 40 years. Many op­er­a­tions are in­ter­wo­ven”

He men­tioned staffing and how they are look­ing at res­i­dency and em­ploy­ment rights and set­tle­ment sta­tus ap­pli­ca­tions.

Mr Brad­shaw said a lot of the ma­te­ri­als com­ing from Europe for the Taff Vale de­vel­op­ment in Pon­typridd have al­ready been or­dered and they have had con­fir­ma­tion that cur­rent EU pro­grammes will be funded un­til 2022.

He said the coun­cil’s food man­ager and trad­ing stan­dards man­ager have been part of a UK-wide net­work look­ing to ad­vise busi­nesses on con­sumer stan­dards and that the coun­cil has been work­ing with the Welsh Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (WLGA), with fund­ing from the Welsh Gov­ern­ment, to as­sess the im­pact of a no deal for Welsh coun­cils.

In terms of dis­rup­tion caused by a no-deal Brexit, Mr Brad­shaw said flights, en­ergy sup­ply, agri­cul­ture, tar­iffs, po­lice and jus­tice and bor­ders could all be af­fected.

He said: “We need cred­i­ble no-deal plan­ning from UK Gov­ern­ment for man­ag­ing bor­ders and de­lays.”

Mr Brad­shaw also high­lighted gov­er­nor of the Bank of Eng­land Mark Car­ney’s warn­ing that the UK could go into re­ces­sion if there is no deal.

Coun­cil leader An­drew Mor­gan said: “This would have a mas­sive im­pact which means aus­ter­ity would be noth­ing com­pared to that.

“I hope we do not get to that po­si­tion. As many ar­eas as pos­si­ble are be­ing looked at.”

Cllr Mor­gan said meet­ings were tak­ing place to re­view ser­vices and said li­cences for all EU cit­i­zens cur­rently in the UK to stay here could cost as much as £157m.

He added that 15% of the UK’s food sup­ply comes through Dover so they need to con­sider what might hap­pen if there are is­sues with lor­ries be­ing backed up there.

Cllr Mor­gan also said they were hav­ing meet­ings about en­vi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion.

Coun­cil­lor Alun Cox said a no-deal Brexit would have a “very, very neg­a­tive af­fect on our com­mu­ni­ties.”

He said he doubted the UK Gov­ern­ment’s re­place­ment for EU funds will ben­e­fit ru­ral ar­eas to the ex­tent that EU funds have, and feared money will be re­dis­tributed to richer ar­eas that have less need for it.

He said: “The with­drawal agree­ment wants to take de­volved pow­ers away from the Welsh As­sem­bly. That should not be sup­ported.”

Coun­cil­lor Jayne Brencher said: “We are one of the most vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas in the UK and it is go­ing to hit us par­tic­u­larly hard. No­body knows what is go­ing to hap­pen.”

But Coun­cil­lor Joel James, who cam­paigned for Leave dur­ing the 2016 ref­er­en­dum, said: “I am dis­ap­pointed with the com­ments from the gov­er­nor of the Bank of Eng­land.

“They said there would be a re­ces­sion as soon as we leave. It hasn’t hap­pened. The econ­omy has grown and wages have in­creased. Theresa May’s deal is the least worse of the op­tions.”

“We will be well-off when we leave – and the sooner we do it, the bet­ter.”

But Coun­cil­lor Martin Fi­dler-Jones, said he has a mas­ter’s de­gree in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and that Cllr James’ ar­gu­ments were “eco­nom­i­cally il­lit­er­ate”.

He of­fered him pri­vate les­sons on eco­nom­ics and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions.

VIC­TO­RIA JONES

A no-deal Brexit could have a ma­jor im­pact on the coun­cil’s abil­ity to pro­vide ser­vices

Chris Brad­shaw

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