The Inside the Council column with Labour Councillor Josh Fenton-Glynn

Josh Fenton-Glynn.
Josh Fenton-Glynn.

Our council have put a lot of work into preparation for Brexit – but whatever we do locally, a “hard deal” or no deal will make us poorer.

And the under this incompetent government things are being made worse.

Brexit issue: I don't think I've ever known politics so divided.

Brexit issue: I don't think I've ever known politics so divided.

Increasingly as a councillor the decisions you are able to make are framed by national Government.

We see this with the impact of social care crisis, a national crisis made worse by the Government failing to come up with a proposed solution first promised in April 2017.

Similarly most of the work we do is constrained by the demands placed on council budgets by austerity. But more than anything, our actions and priorities are shaped by the continuing uncertainty over what Brexit will look like.

This Government has shown itself to be utterly incompetent when it comes to negotiation.

They have failed to consider the national interest when negotiating their deal, and indulged in posturing around threats of an economically ruinous no deal scenario.

Where they could have worked with all parties to try to find an answer that most people would be happy with, instead the Government has created one of the most divisive political climates I can remember.

Whilst the full details are unclear, the preparatory work our council officers have done has done suggests that leaving the EU will have an impact across the council from our workforce, to community cohesion to the likely tax base and other funding we will have to invest.

There are many questions which are yet to be answered and uncertainties we have to prepare for.

So what will the impacts be?

A no deal or hard Brexit (such as Theresa May’s deal) will certainly see jobs lost in our community.

And the constant speculation that we might leave without a deal is already discouraging investment.

Areas such as social care rely on workers from Europe, and there could be serious implications for some of our most vulnerable if these people no longer feel welcome.

We are also concerned about the substantial amounts of funding that the council secured from the EU.

Although current funding has been guaranteed, once it runs out there is no information from Government about what money will be available and how it will be allocated.

Similarly we need assurances from our Government that they will defend British agriculture, and ensure long term financial support for our local farmers.

As a council we are doing everything we can to make sure Calderdale is in the best position to deal with issues created by Brexit.

Yet whatever happens there is a lot of uncertainty – the direct result of answers being offered by this Conservative Government.

On a personal note I don’t think I’ve ever known politics so bitter and divided, something I believe is a direct result of how the Government has handled these negotiations.

I hope whatever happens over the coming months all parties will work for the best for Calderdale and our economy.