England & Wales Press Releases

LGiU Statement on the EU referendum

LGiU statement on the referendum vote

Many local authority leaders, cabinet members, and senior management teams will be attempting to work out the effects of a leave vote. In the coming days and weeks it will be essential that local government has a swift understanding of how leaving Europe will affect the localities of Britain.

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU commented:

It is simply too early to understand the full implications of the referendum vote. But some initial warnings and possibilities are clear:

1) Economy – The Government has hard-wired local government into the economy. Councils will be more prone to the effects of recession as business rates and growth will be hit. There will be an emergency budget and local government will need to be alert to the possibility of a new funding settlement.

2) Devolution – The Chancellor was the driving force behind the devolution agenda across a sometimes unwilling Whitehall. What is the future of the devolution agenda/ northern powerhouse given questions over the Chancellor’s future and inevitable change of leadership?

3) EU regulations: These will take some time to unpick and these changes will be crucial to local government. The end of cumbersome procurement rules and state aid might see many more freedoms for councils to operate and to invest in local business. Structural funding was part of the payments made to the EU. Time will tell whether the Government will seek to continue structural funding on a national level.

4) Sovereignty – This has largely been a debate about parliamentary sovereignty however the vote suggests not only a frustration with the EU but also with national politics. What has been lacking is a conversation about how the public see this renewed sovereignty. It cannot be a question of parliamentary supremacy but how we truly democratise Britain and give people a voice. That will inevitably involve a robust devolution agenda.

The LGiU will work with you in the coming weeks and months to fully understand how this will affect your council.

Further analysis on what Brexit means for local government on our blog here.