The UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) is an opportunity for the UK government, the Local Government Association (LGA) and councils to work together to ensure that a new settlement is created in which communities have a greater say over their futures, new opportunities are identified to grow local economies and the risks to local areas are managed carefully. As the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passes through Parliament, we offer this briefing to highlight the key opportunities and risks for communities and councils in advance of exit day on 31 January 2020.
- Since the referendum result councils have played a leading role in the country’s preparations for the UK’s exit from the European Union, making sure our communities are as ready as they can be in preparing for the opportunities and risks that Brexit will bring. Councils and the LGA have worked hard to ensure that the short and long term issues that matter most to communities are being addressed in partnership with Government and Parliament.
UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF)
- The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is an ideal opportunity to empower communities through councils, Combined Authorities and their local areas to drive economic growth, increase prosperity and productivity and tackle deep rooted inequalities. Delivery of change can best be achieved through a locally determined fund that operates alongside other funding the UK Government provides to help boost economic growth in local areas.
- The UK’s departure from the EU gives central and local government an opportunity to rethink the way decisions are made in the UK. Taking back control of our laws cannot mean leaving Brussels only to consolidate power in Whitehall, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont. Instead, the UK’s departure from the EU must lead to further powers for local communities through local government. It is essential that a bold English devolution settlement is delivered in this Parliament.
- Councils have also set out a bold proposal to strengthen, amend or keep former EU laws to ensure that more powers rest with local communities.
- The UK faces significant geographical skills challenges which includes shortages of higher-skilled technical and vocational workers, which contributes to reduced local growth. We want to work with the Government to establish a local skills and job offer that can close local skills gaps, help businesses get the right skills and give people new opportunities to succeed.
- As we re-new our trading relationships across the world, councils have an essential role in building our local economies and attracting new business investment into their communities. They can play a pivotal role in helping to provide an integrated ‘one stop shop’ approach to investment activities at a local level.
Empowering local areas
- UK local government currently has a formal advisory role in the EU law and policy-making process and councils can give advice on how draft laws could be delivered best with front-line services. The UK Government has previously provided assurances that there would mean no loss of rights for local government and these arrangements would be replicated in the UK following our departure from the EU. We will be working with the Government and Parliament to develop and implement new UK proposals designed to help local leaders advise the Government on the design and delivery of laws affecting local services.
Download the full briefing
LGA Briefing: Brexit - December 2019