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Brexit minister: New delivery board will ensure resources

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A new ministerial Brexit ‘delivery board’ involving local government will provide regular updates on the government’s negotiations with the European Union and ensure councils have the resources to deal with future “challenges”, Brexit minister Suella Braverman has said.

Speaking to exclusively to LGC following her speech at the Local Government Association conference this afternoon, Ms Braverman also said the board would have “a big impact” and be more than a “working group”.

Announcing the creation of the board at the conference earlier, communities secretary James Brokenshire, said it would “support the implementation of changes linked to Brexit within the sector”.

Ms Braverman said the board would be jointly led by the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government and the Department for Exiting the European Union and could be established in “a few weeks”.

She said the board would provide a “formal mechanism” to enable local government to plan ahead. Earlier she told the conference this would include preparing for the impact of “a no-deal” scenario, although she insisted this was unlikely.

Ms Braverman told LGC: “It is not a sounding board or a working group, it is very much about the act of engagement and a focus on the ground readiness.”

Later when asked whether councils, many of which are struggling financially, would have the funding available to cope with Brexit, she said: “All the support that is appropriate will be provided because there are going to be challenges.

“We do need to work together to ensure the resources are in place.”

The LGA has repeatedly called for greater engagement with government over Brexit.

When asked about the timing of establishing the board, Ms Braverman said: “We are getting into the time when delivery now becomes important and we are seeing it at national level.

“We are passing the pieces of legislation that are integral to our smooth departure. That means it is the right time to now start working across the country at the local government level.”

The government has said structural funding provided by the EU will be replaced by a UK shared prosperity fund.

Ms Braverman described the issue of whether local government has control over how and where this money is spent as “a great question”, adding there would be a consultation on “how we maintain its robustness, transparency, how we ensure it achieves the objectives of reducing inequality and getting it to where it is most needed”.

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