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