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Suffolk County Council steps-up preparations for no deal Brexit




Preparations for a no-deal Brexit have stepped-up at Suffolk County Council, with the authority wary of potential impact to the economy.

A 2017 report commissioned by County Hall warned that the local workforce and trade could be hit when the UK leaves the European Union, which it is set to on October 31. The government has yet to rubber-stamp a deal with union leaders, which means the UK would leave the single market and customs union trade arrangements overnight.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has committed to taking the UK out of the European Union by October 31
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has committed to taking the UK out of the European Union by October 31

The 2017 report, drawn up by Metro Dynamics on behalf of Suffolk and Norfolk county councils, stated: "Outside of the single market, trade barriers are likely to impact UK exports and given the importance of farming and food production in East Anglia, this is a key area of concern."

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The report also warned of the potential departure of EU workers, whose jobs may be difficult to fill.

Chris Bally, the county council's deputy chief executive said: “There is a great amount of activity behind the scenes to ensure Suffolk is as well-placed as it can be.

“Leaving the union with a deal remains the Government’s top priority but we are planning for every eventuality, including a no-deal scenario and activity in this area has stepped up."

Agriculture, one of the largest economic sectors in Suffolk, could be impacted by Brexit
Agriculture, one of the largest economic sectors in Suffolk, could be impacted by Brexit

When asked by the Bury Free Press for a breakdown of how much preparations had cost the taxpayer, the county council said it was not possible to release a figure.

Mr Bally added: “Councils and the Suffolk Resilience Forum are working together to develop plans and we are working to ensure there is no or very minimal disruption to our front-line services.

“It is also important to note that while we look to minimise any risk, we are also working to maximise the opportunities that may arise once we leave the union.”

The county council is encouraging European Union citizens living in Suffolk to sign up to the settlement scheme to retain current rights.

Details about this, and more advice for residents and businesses, can be found by visiting: www.suffolk.gov.uk and following links.

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