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Most council leaders worry about negative Brexit impact

Almost two thirds of council leaders and chief executives believe Brexit will have a ‘negative’ impact on their local economy, a new survey has revealed.

The survey by the New Local Government Network (NLGN) of more than 800 council leaders, mayors and chief executives shows 61% of respondents think Brexit will have either a negative or very negative impact on the local economy.

A quarter said it would have neither a negative or positive impact, and only 11% replied it would have a positive or a very positive impact on the local economy.

Council leaders and chief executives in the south east of England were the least pessimistic, with 48% indicating Brexit would have a negative impact or a very impact on the local economy.

Local government leaders in the north east of England were the most pessimistic, with 100% indicating Brexit would have a negative or a very negative impact.

And 93% of chief executives and leaders in London said they expect Brexit to have a negative or very negative impact on the local economy.

More than two thirds (68%) ‘strongly disagreed’ or ‘disagreed’ with the statement they had received enough support from Whitehall in preparing for Brexit.

Just over a quarter (26%) neither agreed or disagreed with the statement and just 3.8% agreed or ‘strongly agreed’ that they have received enough support from ministers.

Last month, council leaders and mayors from the Core Cities group met with the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

The chair of the Core Cities group and Leeds city council leader, Judith Blake said: ‘Growth from the Core Cities will play a critical role to the success of the UK’s post-Brexit economy.

‘The UK needs to increase its productivity by giving our cities the freedoms they need. If all our places performed just at the national economic average, it would put an additional £70-£90bn into the economy every year.

‘International evidence suggests that the most productive cities have the most power over spending on local priorities,’ added Ms Blake.

‘Our message to government is to deliver a domestic reform agenda that allows cities to take back control on issues such as skills and local economic development.’

  • To read the full details of the NLGN survey, click here.

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