More power should be devolved beyond national government and principal councils to local communities to help address the impact of the UK’s withdrawl from the EU.
Responding to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry into Brexit and Local Government the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has set out concerns about the impact of EU withdrawl on rural communities.
The Committee wants to see more of a representation for local government in the negotiations on the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU and as part of that process has launched an inquiry into the impact Brexit may have on local government.
Responding to the inquiry, Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC said: ““As the first tier of local government, local councils are positioned at the very heart of the community and closest to those who know what is best for their community.”
“Our local councils have raised their concerns with us over the deal rural communities will get post Brexit. We fear that if action is not taken there is a serious threat posed to rural communities once we have left the EU.”
“There has been no engagement so far, with local government in the Brexit negotiations and we think it is vital local councils are considered and communities are given a voice.
“We are calling for communities to be awarded more control of decisions by community proofing powers repatriated from the EU, which could be devolved beyond national government and principal councils.
“Brexit could mean fewer skilled workers coming to Britain leading to a short labour supply, particularly in those rural communities. This could negatively impact those communities and leave them behind. We would like to know what the Government has in place to ensure Britain has enough skilled workers for all communities.”
“Rural communities are also set to lose £138 million of funding through the loss of the EU’s LEADER fund, which helps boost businesses, tourism, productivity and services in rural areas. NALC are calling on the Government to commit to replacing this funding or risk rural communities falling behind the rest of the country post Brexit.”
“I look forward to continuing to work with the Committee on the important issue of Brexit and Local Government and how we can, together, explore ways to help England’s communities benefit from leaving the EU.