Brexit task-force set up to help Northumberland through challenges and opportunities of leaving the EU
‘The way we can deal with Brexit here is to build our long-term resilience’ – that’s the view of one council leader about the way forward for the North of Tyne area, which include’s Northumberland.
The comments from Newcastle council leader Coun Nick Forbes came at Tuesday’s meeting of the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s cabinet, where it was agreed to set up a Brexit task-force.
This group, which will seek suitably senior representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and any other relevant departments, will focus on the overall effect on the local economy, together with any wider issues, including on communities and sense of place.
Coun Forbes said: “It’s economically reckless for the Government to set out Brexit proposals with no economic impact assessment.
“Last time, it showed that the North East would be worst affected and I have no doubt – and that’s why, I’m sure, that they are refusing to do it or at least to share it – it will show again that this region will be the hardest hit in terms of a no-deal or hard Brexit.”
Coun Forbes suggested that despite the national uncertainty, the combined authority should drive confidence, work with the financial sector to avoid problems for businesses hit by cash-flow problems and consider what practical support it can give.
“Really the way we can deal with Brexit here is to build our long-term resilience,” he added.
“We should use this as another set of arguments as to why we need more powers devolved to us.
“We know the Government won’t come to our rescue, we have to do it ourselves.”
Nonetheless, the report to the cabinet sets out that the combined authority should call on the Government ‘to provide an immediate economic stimulus to the North of Tyne area and to provide a clear demonstration of confidence in the region’s economic future’ through a number of commitments, such as ‘promptly agreeing’ funding bids which have already been submitted.
In addition, the Government will be asked to provide additional resources to establish a Brexit Response fund in the event of a no-deal scenario, which would allow businesses adversely affected to be able to bid into this loan fund to provide them with support.