East Cambs Council unveils its no deal Brexit preparations and says it is focusing on ‘specific areas of risk’

Medical supplies into East Cambs was one of the issues raised by Cllr Cane during a council meeting

Medical supplies into East Cambs was one of the issues raised by Cllr Cane during a council meeting on preparations for a no deal Brexit. IMAGE: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Brexit planning is well under way at East Cambridgeshire District Council although the likelihood of a no deal “looking increasingly likely” detailed preparations are in hand, councillors have been assured.

Finance manager Ian Smith has drawn up a briefing note for councillors following a meeting of the finance and assets committee at which one councillor warned that more needed to be done than "just having workshops and forums".

Cllr Charlotte Cane said the council should be planning for such a significant issue as Brexit could potentially leave the EU without an understanding of how this would impact on the recruitment of people from the EU, the movement of horses and of medicines,

Cllr Cane said that with such a short time remaining the council should be clear about what it was going to do in the event of a 'no deal'

Mr Smith says the council, as part of its business continuity planning, has focused on specific areas of risk.

These include a break down in the supply chain for the council's suppliers and local businesses and blockages to the transport system for example along the A14.

He also said the cost inflation impact on staffing and suppliers was a priority as too was currency fluctuation and higher inflation.

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Mr Smith said the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Resilience Forum which comprises local councils, the emergency services and other partners shared information on a regular basis.

He said the group held a one day Brexit no deal scenario workshop last December and there has been a county wide risk assessment.

Up until March 31 the forum had held daily/weekly reporting sessions and he expected these will begin again leading up to October 31. They would be monitoring the "possible situation within the county e.g. food shortage issues, protesting, community cohesion etc".

East Cambridgeshire employs nine EU citizens and Mr Smith did not expect any short term impact on the council's workforce.

"Nonetheless, the council is taking some steps to ensure that all employees are kept informed, and that those who are directly affected are supported to ensure they

can keep working in the UK," he said.

Mr Smith added: "We continue to work with our suppliers and their supply chains to monitor the impact of Brexit and their ability to deliver and maintain services to the Council.

"Given the uncertainty around the final outcome of the negotiation, it is difficult to predict the impact, however current skill shortages in the construction and care industries are likely to remain one of the key areas."