Crisis of unemployment is risk from from no-deal Brexit - but where's the urgent political oversight from City's Labour administration? And what's the £500,000 contingency been spent on? Liberal Democrats Leader wants answers.

December 15, 2020 8:04 PM
Dr Nick Cott'The impact of Brexit is the most major risk affecting our local and regional economy, " said Liberal Democrats Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Nick Cott, after the City cabinet meeting discusses the issue . "The Northeast has potentially the most to lose out of all regions, particularly from a no deal Brexit, which would hit our manufacturing sector and its supply chains hard. The position of our retail and services sectors, given the impact of the Coronavirus, means they are not currently in a position to step in to provide new jobs in the short-term, and we're therefore facing a potential crisis of unemployment.

'It is imperative that the Council and its partners have a clear and unambiguous plan for mitigating the impact of Brexit on the city.

'Whilst we recognise that Council Officers have been working hard to put plans in place, the Opposition has some concern that at this late hour Brexit does not appear to have the level of urgent political oversight that could be expected from the Labour administration of the Council. £500,000 was set aside in this year's budget for Brexit, but we have little idea what it has been spent on. Brexit appears to have very little prominence in the papers that were agreed for consultation on the budget. It appears in the Council's strategic risk register, but only under an amber heading, rather than as a red urgent indicator. The information presented to Cabinet is months out of date. Surely, Cabinet should be presented with the risks that are current, not those that were current a few months ago?

'We are told that the Council can only take responsibility for risks which sit within the remit of the local authority, but this is inconsistent with the treatment of other risks recorded in the strategic register, where the Council reports on its work with partners and appears to exercise its leadership of place."