DETAILS about the council’s planning in the event of a no-deal Brexit have been released.
Earlier this month, The Wokingham Paper revealed that Wokingham Borough Council couldn’t release information about its proposals lest it damage the Government’s negotiating position with the European Union.
The People’s Vote campaign – which calls for a second referendum – had submitted a freedom of information request to the council. This had been turned down.
Cllr Clive Jones, Liberal Democrat councillor for Hawkeden ward, asked the council leader, Cllr John Halsall, what actions were being taken to prepare, and what impacts this could have on local residents.
He also asked for “any actions that may need to be performed by the Council should this event [no-deal Brexit] actually happen”.
In response, Cllr Halsall said that the freedom of information requests has been turned down before the Government’s Operation Yellowhammer preparations had been released – they had also been leaked to The Sunday Times in August.
As a result, “The Council can now share more information on its own no deal preparations”.
He added: “The Council has established an officer group of managers from across the authority to plan for Brexit. This group is now meeting weekly in order to ensure the Council is ready and can react quickly as the situation develops.”
Cllr Halsall then said that the council is preparing for a range of possible outcomes including:
- Supply chain disruption – School meals, personal protective equipment etc
- Staffing – Possible loss of staff originating from EU27 countries (social care and RE3 have been identified as having the highest exposure to date)
- Data – Potential that we are unable to access our own data on data stored within the EU
- Major Projects – Potential for construction projects to be delayed/over budget due to supply chain and currency fluctuations
- Regulation – Trading standards/food safety and environmental protection – Possible capacity issues due to additional work required)
Cllr Jones then asked: “Do you think if the council has been properly resourced?”
Cllr Halsall explained that the council wasn’t really at the forefront of areas affected by Brexit. With this in mind, he felt that they had the right resources.
“There are a lot of variables to talk about,” he added. “We’re not without a response.”