Government hands council just 15 pence per person to deal with a no-deal Brexit
5th September 2019
TUNBRIDGE WELLS has been given a pot of money to help the borough cope if Britain leaves the EU without a deal – and it amounts to just 15 pence per person.
All local authorities in Kent have been given a share of an additional £2.6million by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government ‘in recognition of the county being home to a number of the significant and busiest ports in the area’.
Kent County Council are to get £1million of the money, with £1.6million distributed to the borough and district councils in the county, including Tunbridge Wells – which will get £17,500.
The ministry says allocations are ‘based on a number of factors including the expected impact on the local area, the amount of EU goods received by port areas into the country and the areas wider importance to UK trade network’.
On announcing the funds, Minister in charge of local councils, Robert Jenrick, said: “We recognise Kent is playing a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transition for its businesses and residents after we leave the EU in October, and that’s why we’re giving over £2.6 million of additional funding to support the county to boost its Brexit preparations.
“We have stepped up our preparedness significantly in recent weeks, including by asking every council to appoint a Brexit Lead Officer. Now we are releasing an additional £9million of additional funding today to help local areas get ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances.”
Mr Jenrick said the recent funding now meant local councils across the UK have received a total of £77m to ‘prepare for our departure’ from the EU.
However, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said the latest money amounts to just 15 pence per person, or £4 for each business in the borough.
Opposition Liberal Democrat leader at the Council, Ben Chapelard said the money was a ‘joke’.
He said: “The contingency money is completely inadequate to prevent the nightmare no-deal scenario predicted for Kent.
“If the situation wasn’t so serious, people would be forgiven for thinking Mr Johnson was having a joke at the expense of people in Kent.”
Council Leader Alan McDermott said: “The further funding Government announced for councils to get Brexit-ready means Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will receive £17,500 – as we’ve only just been told about this, no decision about how it will be spent has been taken.
“Council staff are working closely with Kent Resilience Team, other councils across Kent and partners to understand and reduce the impact of Brexit on the borough and ensure the smooth running of services.”