The possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit could prove damaging to households and businesses in Flintshire, new research has shown.
The future shape of the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU) remains uncertain despite the deadline for its departure fast approaching.
If the nation were to leave without a trade agreement, it could pose a significant risk to the county’s economy, according to guidance provided to the local authority.
Flintshire is said to have ‘very high’ proportions of employment in the manufacturing and wholesale industries, which have both been identified as those most at risk by the UK Government.
Advice from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), which has been given to organisations across the country, said Flintshire Council should consider how to intervene or offer reassurance to companies in danger.
The report states: “The council should seek to understand points of vulnerability within your economy.
“The economic consequences of “no deal” arising from trade fluctuations could impact household and business stability.
“This, in turn, may lead indirectly to increased pressure on local public services and more challenging prospects for local growth.
“Create a clear view of your local economy; including scale, strengths, weaknesses, sectors and productivity.
“This will assist you to understand the local exposure to Brexit by sector and intervene or offer reassurance and support where necessary.”
Compared to the other Welsh authorities, Flintshire is reported as having a relatively high proportion of its population who were born in the EU, at
3.9 per cent, which compares to a Welsh average of just over three per cent.
As a result, the report highlights the importance for the council to focus on community relations in the event of heightened tensions after Brexit.
It adds: “Local authorities have a key role in promoting community cohesion and working with partners to respond to tensions and hate crime.
“In some areas Brexit may continue to exacerbate these issues and community leaders must consider how they can respond. ”
The Welsh Government has given local authorities an extra £1.2 million to prepare for Brexit, which equates to £45,000 each.
A further £200,000 will also be made available through the WLGA.
A WLGA spokesman said: “The money will ensure there is a dedicated resource in each local authority to undertake the necessary planning, co-ordination and preparation work.
“It will be supported and co-ordinated by the WLGA across all local authorities to avoid duplication, maximise effectiveness and encourage cross local government delivery.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).