Essex Council keen to play role in Brexit negotiations

Politics / Tue 1st Aug 2017 at 06:44pm


ESSEX could play a vital role in influencing the UK’s Brexit negotiations after ECC’s deputy leader was chosen to chair a group championing the interests of UK local government.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, also Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Skills, Infrastructure and Digital Economy, will lead the Local Government Association’s Brexit Task and Finish Group.

Cllr Bentley, who will also represent English councils on the committee, said: “I’m honoured to have been appointed Chairman of the LGA group, where I can fly the flag for Essex and local government nationwide to ensure central Government delivers the best possible Brexit deal.

“While it’s clear the Government wants to ensure Britain can continue to thrive in the post-Brexit world, much of that devolved power and funding could be handed to the people on the ground who can make a real difference.

“Local councils, including Essex, understand their economies and communities better than anyone at a national level, so we must make sure we are heard in Westminster to negotiate a deal that is driven by local priorities.”

Essex County Council has been monitoring the risks and opportunities facing Essex, and is already working with the LGA and County Council Network (CCN) to lobby Government.

On top of that, ECC is undertaking research to define the priorities of a local authority driven UK growth programme, which would replace EU funding after 2020.

“The Essex economy has the entrepreneurial spirit and potential to drive growth post-Brexit, therefore we must create the right conditions for businesses to thrive,” added Cllr Bentley.

“A UK growth programme would support local business growth and invest in local employment and skills provision to develop and retain the right workforce for the jobs on offer, particularly into sectors which rely on EU nationals and which support the UK’s forthcoming Industrial Strategy.

“Essex is open for business and now we have a fantastic opportunity to influence Brexit to ensure local firms are able to secure new export markets both within and beyond the EU.”

Cllr Bentley replaces Cllr David Simmonds as Chairman, after he was appointed leader of the Conservatives on the LGA.

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