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Ministry's failed bid shows it is 'not taking Brexit seriously'

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The shadow communities secretary has tabled an urgent question asking how much money the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has reprioritised to prepare for the UK leaving the EU.

Andrew Gwynne MP (Lab) told LGC he is concerned as to why the ministry had failed to submit a bid for additional preparedness funding, as reported by LGC yesterday.

“MHCLG has seen some of the largest cuts of any department since 2010, so it is still unclear why MHCLG did not apply for additional funding from the Treasury,” he said. “It raises concern that the government are not taking seriously their responsibility to protect EU structural funds, and this will do little to ease uncertainty on infrastructure funding post-Brexit.”

A spokesperson for the ministry told LGC on Wednesday a bid had not been submitted as funds had already been found by making efficiencies within existing budgets. 

LGC asked the ministry to clarify how much money had been set aside to prepare for Brexit and what the ministry is doing to help local authorities prepare.

An MHCLG spokesman said: “We have a team working on our plans for EU Exit and we are also in discussions with local government.”

Mr Gwynne said: “We need to know how much funding has been ‘reprioritised’ to cover Brexit preparations, and where cuts have been made in existing budgets to allow them to fund this.”

A spokesperson for the Treasury confirmed on Wednesday that MHCLG had not put a bid in for the funding - aimed at helping individual departments “prepare” for Brexit. 

A recent poll of council leaders and chief executives by NLGN found that 61% of 185 council leaders and chief executives thought Brexit would have a negative or very negative impact on their local economy.





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