No money set aside for a Brexit upheaval in Solihull
No specific pot of money has been set aside by Solihull Council to deal with financial upheaval which might arise from Brexit.
With less than six months remaining until Britain leaves the EU, and growing concerns about the impact on the economy, the organisation has been questioned about its preparations.
The councillor responsible for the local authority’s finances has insisted that it is well prepared to weather a storm, despite there not being a dedicated Brexit reserve.
Cllr Robert Hulland, cabinet member for resources and delivering value, told this week’s Full Council meeting that a number of steps had been taken to provide for any risk that arose.
These include a flexible financial strategy, a general reserve to deal with any changes in circumstances and retaining part of a recent business rates windfall.
Cllr Max McLoughlin (Green, Shirley South) had asked whether the council intended to publish a Brexit contingency to allay public fears.
“Will there be any published Brexit contingency? Just to reassure residents and businesses alike.
“To let them know that our services are not at risk in the future and that our finances are not at risk in future.”
Responding, Cllr Hulland said: “At this stage, Cllr McLoughlin, we don’t know what the impact of Brexit’s going to be.
“But what we have done … is to make contingency arrangements, generally, against any risk that the council may face by using the three-year medium-term financial strategy.”
Cllr Hulland had told members that the authority had ongoing discussions with local employers and partners and received regular advice from auditors and property advisors on matters including Brexit.
He said that the intelligence was taken into consideration when reviewing the financial strategy, but described the contents as “commercially confidential”.
It has also been confirmed that the majority of the council’s borrowing had been on fixed interest rates, which should provide some protection in the event rates change dramatically in the months ahead.
Having triggered Article 50 last spring, Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on 29th March 2019.
Read more: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/no-money-set-aside-brexit-15272931