MPs blast government's £20m no-deal Brexit council spending pledge

Posted On: 
3rd August 2019

Ministers have come under fire for pledging five times as much money towards no-deal “propaganda” as they have promised to help councils prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Labour's Jess Phillips called the funding for town halls "an insult to our intelligence".
Credit: 
PA

Councils across England have been ordered to appoint local tsars to lead work to prepare for a no-deal exit from the EU.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has written to local authorities urging them to “step up vital preparations” ahead of 31 October.

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He announced that local authorities would share an additional £20m to fund preparatons for a no-deal scenario on top of £58m already allocated by the Treasury in January.

But Labour MP Jess Philips - speaking on behalf of the anti-Brexit People's Vote campaign - called the funding pledge “out of touch”.

She said: “The idea that £20 million across the 343 principal councils of England is enough to prepare is an insult to our intelligence and to the hard work of public servants struggling with the consequences of the Government’s decision to force a vicious Brexit on us.”

She also criticised the Government for spending five times more on no-deal advertisting materials than they are spending on helping local councils prepare, following reports of a £100m no-deal Brexit PR blitz.

“No deal is about as far away from the promises made by Boris Johnson and the other leaders of 2016’s leave campaign as it is possible to get," the Birmingham Yardley MP warned.

“Now they want to flood the country with adverts promoting a policy they all know is broken and will threaten public health, stability and even food supply."

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s Shadow Communities Secretary, was also critical of the government’s spending, saying ministers “cannot be trusted to fund local services”.

He warned: “This offers no new money and no new ideas for how to address the cliff-edge councils are facing. Under the Tories, 60p out of every £1 that the last Labour Government invested in our councils has been cut – with the most deprived parts of the country hit the hardest."