Wakefield Council Brexit reserves cut from £5m to £1.6m

Wakefield Council has reduced the size of its Brexit reserves.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 4:11 pm
The council had set aside 5m to help the district cope with any adverse effects from Brexit.

The local authority had put aside £5m aside as a fund to help the district cope with the effects of the UK leaving the European Union, as council leader Peter Box warned of "implications" for Wakefield regardless of a deal or 'no deal' scenario.

Following a review earlier this year however, the council has shifted the bulk of the cash into a separate reserve.

A total of just over £1.6m has now been left for Brexit, with a small fraction of that having been donated by the government.

The UK is now due to leave the EU on October 31.

Neil Warren, the authority's chief finance officer, said: "The council has £1.5m reserves set aside for Brexit, plus an additional £105,000 in grant funding from central government.

"The original Brexit reserve was reduced from £5m following a review earlier in the year. The £3.5m reduction is being held in another reserve fund."

Preparations made by the council for Brexit remain in place, most of that work having taken place before March, when it was expected the UK would leave.

An extension was then granted by the EU after Parliament blocked the agreement Theresa May had negotiated with Brussels. The scheduled date for departure has now set for October 31.

Council chief executive Merran McRae said in February officers were working constantly to mitigate any effects of Brexit on the district.

Speaking in February, chief executive Merran McRae said it was unknown what exact impact Brexit might have on the district, but added "a lot depends on the deal we get, and whether there's a deal or no deal".

She added: "The main issues that have been identified as a risk across the region is transport and highways, and the knock on effects on the ports.

"(There's) Also, potentially an impact community tensions depending on whether there's a deal or a delay.

"We've got a team of officers constantly looking at things every week."

Local Democracy Reporting Service