‘Councils need say in Brexit law changes’

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association.

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association.

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Local authorities should pay a key role in decisions as EU laws are converted, or not, into domestic law, says a councils chief.

Responding to the publication of the White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill, Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said that Brexit ‘will have a significant impact on local government’, creating challenges as well as opportunities.

He added: “EU laws impact on many of the council services that affect people’s day-to-day lives. These range from deciding how to protect people from being served unsafe food when they eat out to regulating how councils buy goods and services.

“Local government must play a central role in deciding whether to keep, amend or scrap EU laws once they are converted into domestic law.

“Brexit should not simply mean a transfer of powers from Brussels to Westminster, Holyrood, Stormont and Cardiff Bay.

“It must lead to new legislative freedoms and flexibilities for councils so that residents and businesses benefit. Taking decisions over how to run local services closer to where people live is key to improving them and saving money.”

He continued: “Local areas in England have been allocated £5.3 billion in EU regeneration funding by 2020 to create jobs, support small and medium-sized enterprises, deliver skills, and boost local growth across the country. The Government also needs to begin work with local government to develop a fully-funded and locally-driven successor scheme which gives local areas full control over spending.

“It will also be important to secure continuing access to loans from the European Investment Bank.”