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Councils must have a leading role in EU exit talks, says Lord Porter

Local government must have a seat at the table during the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union, Lord Porter, the LGA chairman, has said.

On the opening day of the LGA’s annual conference, which is being held in Bournemouth, Lord Porter added that councils need to “be involved from the outset in deciding how EU laws affecting local services are replaced and given the power to run them the way we think is best for our communities”.

The Association is also seeking urgent assurances from the government that councils will still receive the £5.3bn in EU regeneration funding they have been allocated up to 2020 following the referendum result.

Lord Porter said that the funding, which is earmarked to create jobs, build new infrastructure and boost growth across the country, is “essential to avoid the strength of local economies being put at risk”.

The LGA said councils must play a central role in deciding how to replace these EU laws. Following the EU referendum, Sir Jeremy Heywood, the head of the Civil Service, wrote to all civil servants calling for ‘calm and commitment’ to carry out the Brexit task.

During the three-day conference, council leaders will also discuss efforts to heal the divided country, especially in the areas where the vote was close.

The LGA will also use the conference to launch its ‘What next for devolution’ consultation to spark a national debate about how we ensure the right powers are devolved to local government and communities.

“Now that the British people have voted to part company with the EU, it is vital that we avoid powers or funding which affect local government getting swallowed up in Whitehall,” said Lord Porter. “Over the last year, more powers and funding have been given to local areas. The referendum result and the political uncertainty that has followed must not see that process stall or go backwards.”

The CEO of think tank Centre for Cities, Alexandra Jones, said that British devolution risks coming “to a standstill” following the vote for the UK to leave the European Union, but the CCN noted that it could provide opportunity for new models of devolution.

However, last week, MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), questioned the adequacy of proper local arrangements for scrutinising devolved services, arguing that the government must provide stronger leadership and greater clarity in “multiple areas” of the whole devo process.

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Henry 3 Dogg   06/07/2016 at 01:26

"Councils must have a leading role in EU exit talks..." Bollocks! My toaster would have more to contribute.

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