"Significant" risks of No Deal Brexit highlighted in Hertfordshire County Counci report

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Rising crime, increased prices, and more demand on council services.

These could be some of the consequences of a No Deal Brexit, according to a new report produced by Herts County Council.

The authority published its Brexit Risk Register this week, outlining how it is preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The UK is currently set to leave the EU in less than two weeks on October 31, but despite years of negotiations no withdrawal agreement has been reached. As a result the Conservative -controlled Herts County Council says it has "fast-tracked its progress on ensuring contingency plans are in place in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement and framework for a future relationship."

12 categories are listed in the risk register, with half of them marked as a "significant" risk.

These are:

*Economic disruption, leading to increased costs such as energy prices, assets such as pensions losing value, the council being unable to invest in services, and the cost of current projects and services increasing;

*A post-Brexit economic downturn leading to a rise in rogue and illegal trading, including in substandard goods or illegal imported food;

*Ports being unable to deal with the demand for additional checks on imports, including animals, meaning the burden is passed to 'inland authorities' such as Hertfordshire;

*Legal and regulatory changes meaning more demand for demand on council officers;

*Changes to border controls meaning the council exceeds the number of available foster places available, meaning the council has to pay for places outside of Hertfordshire;

*Data systems which are provided or managed in EU countries being disrupted, meaning the council cannot access them;

Cllr Ralph Sangster, cabinet member for resources and performance at Herts County Council, said: “During this current climate of uncertainty we want to reassure our residents and local businesses that we are proactively preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union in the event of a ‘no-deal’. Although we cannot predict the outcome, we have got excellent teams in place planning out options and routes we can take.

“We will continue to share advice and information from national government, aimed at Hertfordshire residents and businesses through our social media and digital channels.”

The UK voted to leave the EU on June 23, 2016, and the government invoked Article 50 in March 2017, formally notifying the European Council of the UK’s intention to leave the EU.

However, while the UK was originally scheduled to leave on March 29 this year, that date has been extended twice already, and Parliament recently passed legislation requiring the government to seek a third extension if no agreement is reached by the next meeting of the European Council this week.

Read the report here.