There is growing concern among local authority chief executives, service directors and managers about the impact of Brexit on their councils and communities.
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Of the 251 senior officers working for councils in England who took LGC’s annual Confidence Survey, half said community cohesion in their area had worsened since the EU referendum was held in June 2016.
Staff working for councils in the West Midlands, for example, were more likely to say community relations had worsened (73%) than those in London and the south-east where 58% and 68% respectively said there had been no change.
Prime minister Theresa May has set out her vision for a two-year transition period for Britain as part of its process of leaving the European Union.
Overall, 53% of respondents to the survey, which was conducted before Ms May’s Florence speech last Friday, agreed with the statement that Brexit “will be devastating for the community my authority serves” – that is an increase from 40% when we last surveyed the sector in September 2016.
Just 11% think Brexit will have a positive impact and give councils greater freedoms and flexibilities – a similar result to last year (12%).
Concern about Brexit’s impact on councils’ workforces has also increased – up from 59% to 69%.
When broken down by council type, the biggest concern lay with top-tier metropolitan councils (82% concerned) and London boroughs (76% concerned). At the other end of the scale, 43% of officers working for district councils were concerned.
When presented with a range of government policies and asked to rate them, respondents showed the least support for Brexit closely followed by the right-to-buy.
LGC Survey: Half say community cohesion 'worse' since Brexit vote