Fresh Cabinet split as Philip Hammond is warned councils need more cash for no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
31st December 2018

Philip Hammond has been warned by a Cabinet colleague that councils may not have the money they need to prepare Britain for a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Hammond has been urged to free up extra cash for local authorities to better prepare for Brexit

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A leaked letter from Communities Secretary James Brokenshire to the Chancellor warned of fresh "disruption" and an inability to deal with "civil unrest" if the Treasury failed to hand over extra cash for Brexit planning.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government was granted £35million earlier this year to help with work on Britain's exit.

But the Telegraph - which has obtained a copy of Mr Brokenshire's letter to the Treasury - reports that the amount given was less than half of that requested by the department.

The Communities Secretary warned: "If councils are not given the funding they need now to prepare, we are at increased risk of disruption in the medium to longer term.

"As you know, Government needs local authorities to remain resilient in the face of their other challenges, including pressures in adult social care and children's services."

Mr Brokenshire also told the Chancellor that Local Resilience Forums - which see councils team up with the NHS and other public bodies to deal with emergencies - would need extra funding to properly respond to extra pressures caused by leaving the EU.

"To ensure local areas are prepared for a range of disruption (eg civil unrest) that could arise in a deal or no deal scenario, it is vital that we resource LRFs now to make sure they can undertake essential planning," Mr Brokenshire said.

The Cabinet minister meanwhile called for under-pressure local authorities to be able to directly bid for extra cash from the Treasury to help them face the "countless scenarios" under a no-deal Brexit where they would be required to step in to "to ease short-term disruption".

The Treasury said it did not comment on leaks, but a spokesperson for MHCLG said the department was “committed to working with local government and local leaders to ensure they are adequately prepared to respond to any Brexit scenario”.

They added: "This month, the Department received £35million from HMT and will shortly announce the allocation of this funding to local authorities to support with their Brexit preparations.”