Contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit have been drawn up by Gedling Borough Council.
It looks at 24 different potential impacts it could have, ranging from panic-buying of fuel and economic destabilisation to procurement at local leisure centres and staff recruitment.
The document, ‘EU Exit and No Deal Action Plan’, was released after a Freedom of Information request by the People’s Vote campaign.
Councils have an obligation to plan for all sorts of events, including catastrophic floods and terrorist attacks.
These form part of a technical document known as a ‘risk register’ – a comprehensive list of any foreseeable problem a council may face.
A senior Labour figure said the plan was not “scaremongering”, but part of being a responsible authority.
A leading Conservative said the Government was working “flat out” to ensure the UK leaves in October “deal or no deal”.
But the People’s Vote campaign said it was “outrageous” to claim there was any democratic mandate for a no-deal Brexit.
With no sign of a new agreement between the UK and EU being put on the table by either side, the prime minister said on August 26 that it was “touch and go” whether there would be a deal or not by October 31.
Among the risks examined are:
- Downturn in development and construction locally with implications for affordable housing delivery due to increases in the price of building resources
- Potentially greater demand for social/ affordable housing if the economy slumps
- Additional tariffs for local exporting businesses would increase costs and may be forced to shed labour as a result
- Destabilising economy reducing development due to increased costs of building resources and lack of construction workers, listed as ‘high’ impact
- More people in poverty requiring assistance and support in respect of homeless provision and benefit support
- Panic buying of fuel supplies could cause difficulties in providing environmental services
The People’s Vote campaign said the combined effects “could bring Gedling grinding to a halt within weeks of the UK leaving the EU”.
Susan Martin, coordinator of the Nottingham People’s Vote campaign, said: “The concerns identified here are not hyperbole from politicians in the Remain campaign or exaggeration by journalists.
“They are the sober assessment of public officials in Gedling Borough Council dedicated to the provision of key services from housing to traffic and waste management.
“This is not ‘project fear’ so much as ‘project here’ because the impact on council services will affect thousands of people in Gedling and the surrounding area as they go about their everyday business in these communities.
“At a time when the Prime Minister is saying he is prepared to impose this kind of Brexit on the British people, these risk registers should provide a wake-up call to both politicians and the public.
“During the last referendum, the prospect of a no deal was barely discussed and it is outrageous to claim there is any form of democratic mandate for it now.
“Before any form of destructive Brexit is inflicted on these communities, it is essential for the health of our democracy that the permission of the people is sought through a final say referendum.”
Councillor Michael Payne, deputy leader of the council, who represents the Redhill ward for Labour, said: “As a responsible council, we create risk registers for all types of events.
“The purpose of the risk register is to honestly assess scenarios, including worst case ones, so we can decide how likely they are to happen. The register is not an indication that we expect these scenarios to happen.
“The Prime Minister has made it clear the Government is ‘scaling up’ preparations for a no deal Brexit – it is sensible for local councils to do the same. Having the risk register helps ensure we are as prepared as we can be for any eventuality including a deal or no deal Brexit.
“This is not scaremongering. Our residents and our local businesses expect us to be ready because they know failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
“Brexit will ultimately be judged as a success or failure by localities: real people in real communities. That’s why we need to be as prepared as possible for any and all outcomes of the Brexit negotiations.”
Tom Randall, the newly-announced Conservative candidate for Gedling at the next general election, whenever it is called, said: “The people of Gedling voted for Brexit and the Conservative government is working flat-out to ensure that we leave the European Union, deal or no deal, by October 31.
“People shouldn’t be alarmed by worst-case scenarios, which are not an indicator of what is most likely to happen. Whichever way we leave the EU, the core services Gedling Borough Council provides – like dealing with planning permission applications or getting the bins collected – will continue as before.”